Monasteries are essential because they pray for the world: "they are blast furnaces of prayer for the world." Also monasteries preserve the wisdom of the faith, not in books, but in the lives of holy people whom we in the world can turn to when everything seems to go upside down. Also monasteries provide a home for single people where they can be freed from selfishness, the selfishness that married people have to overcome in marriage and parenting. Single people do not know that they are selfish (generally speaking). The monastery is a place where singles can be saved from themselves.
Since Orthodoxy is so young in Canada, and monasteries are just in the infant stages of their development here, it may be hard to see their importance. But Orthodoxy in Canada is not normal. It is sick in many ways that healthy monasteries could heal. For example, bishops should come from monasteries. Because we have so few monasteries, most of our bishops are just unmarried men--this is courting trouble. Years of monastic obedience and discipline are necessary to form a man who can bear the weight of the church and not be squeezed by stress into some sort of unhealthy behavior. Bishops and priests need very holy and very wise (and very strict) men as father confessors to help them stay on course.
Yes, of course, we should support the poor in all conditions, but monks and nuns are the best example of the poor we should be supporting.