1997: Pat DeVries and a small group of dedicated Chalmers United Church volunteers opened a small food pantry called the Fair Share Food Shelf, serving non-perishable food items. They realized that there were people living in Guelph who did not have enough food. They served a mainly single male population. On Saturday evening at 6 pm, these same volunteers started the Saturday Night Supper program.
2005: Chalmers United Church was sold to Royal City Evangelical Missionary Church. Chalmers Community Services Centre became a registered charity and its own corporate entity on March 31, 2006. The vision was to offer services to guests without judgement in an inclusive, welcoming environment without doing means testing. This continues to be the philosophy.
July 25, 2007: Due to high food costs and record numbers of guests, CCSC began serving guests food every two weeks.
Nov. 2007: Due to a lack of funding the CCSC Board of Directors voted to cease operation on Dec. 31, 2007. The manager resigned and the office administrator was laid off.
Jan. 2008: The Saturday Night Supper program was devolved to the faith communities contributing to its success.
Jan. 1, 2008: Three volunteers came forward and offered to continue running the food pantry and clothing if a suitable location could be found. Edward Pickersgill offered free rent for seven months in a space on Wyndham St. The office administrator continued working from home and was paid an honorarium. Royal City Evangelical Missionary Church allowed CCSC to stay open on Jan. 4 and Jan. 11.
Jan. 18, 2008: CCSC opened at 158 Wyndham St.
Aug. 2008: CCSC opened in its new space at 40 Baker St. as tenants in a building housing other non-profits.
Nov. 13, 2008: Chalmers WEST was launched in a portable on the property of Three Willows United Church. They began serving Thursday mornings 10 am to 12 noon. This program now includes a coffee time in the church from 9 am to noon Thursday mornings. The downtown location became known as Chalmers Downtown. The name, “Fair Share Food Shelf” was dropped.
June 2010: A Community Garden was planted at Three Willows United Church, allowing Chalmers WEST to benefit from fresh-picked produce.
Jan. 2011: Chalmers Dowtown opened a Wednesday evening pantry from 7 to 8 pm. This would allow CCSC to serve the low income employed, students, and others who prefer a less busy time.
2011: Harcourt Memorial United Church planted a Community Garden allowing Chalmers Downtown to benefit from fresh produce.
2012: CCSC expanded its space at 40 Baker St. to allow for more storage. Dublin Street United Church donated funds to renovate the kitchen area.
Feb. 11, 2014: The Tuesday Café opened offering coffee and snacks, but also hot oatmeal in the winter and ice cream in the summer.
June 1, 2014: After conversations with other agencies and guests, CCSC changed its model of serving food to individuals to serving families, including children.
Jan. 1, 2016: CCSC was granted funding which allowed CCSC to open a Monday Morning Café. CCSC is now open 5 days a week.
Jan. 12, 2016: The Microfinance program was launched. This is a unique partnership between CCSC, the County of Wellington, the Circles program and Meridian Credit Union. Committed to “relieving poverty by assisting persons of low or modest income,” this initiative offers small loans at minimal interest rates to individuals who have developed a plan to establish greater financial self-sufficiency. By working with Meridian Credit Union, borrowers are also able to create a positive credit rating.