"If I hadn't met that Mac SOC outreach worker, I wouldn't be here today"
— Personal communication from a citizen who accessed Mac SOC outreach services.
In 1999 two nursing students from McMaster University, Patrick Mahoney and Greg Reilly established McMaster Student Outreach Collaborative (Mac SOC). Together Patrick and Greg recruited and organized volunteers of students, faculty, and staff from the School of Nursing to conduct outreach to those living in poverty and those at risk of poverty and homelessness in the City of Hamilton. Initially, this group mapped out a downtown route through parks and other areas where people experiencing poverty and homelessness congregated and determined the needs of the population. As a result of this assessment Mac SOC teamed up with the Salvation Army Soup Van to assist with providing health service information support at their designated locations. This was a valuable service as it allowed a mobile clinic of volunteers to assist a larger cohort of individuals who needed food, clothing, as well as access to health information and support services. Slowly through the grapevine of personal communication on the streets, a community of underserved individuals learned that MacSOC could be found every Wednesday night in their neighborhoods.
Much attention for the project was raised through several media outlets including articles in the Hamilton Spectator television coverage on both CH TV 11 and Global Networks. In addition, a film was aired on Discovery Television depicting the day in the life of a nursing student featuring the Mac SOC outreach experience.