The final notice has been received and the Helping Hand, a mission of the Pentecostal Church, has until October 17th to vacate its location in the old Morrisburg High School, where it has been a source of clothing for those in need for the past 11 years.
Unfortunate, but true, the Helping Hand used clothing depot, answers a very big need in South Dundas and the surrounding area with an average of 2000-2,500 visitors benefiting from it each year.
The fact that the Helping Hand has to vacate is not a surprise as they were put on notice way back in 2009, that they were in their location on a monthly basis. With the upcoming renovation to the historic high school building to house an expansion to the St. Lawrence Medical and the South Dundas Municipal offices, the monthly basis has ended and the Helping Hand is closing.
The problem is that since they were put on notice of the eventual loss of their location they have been unable to find a new location that would be rent-free, or at the very least, very cheap.
“We have a lot of people not happy about it,” says Pentecostal minister, Rev. Duncan Perry. “But we can’t afford to go somewhere else. We have a couple thousand dollars (donations) a year coming in, but that is not enough to rent.”
“We don’t want to locate in the mall, and the only other building in town is the former St. Lawrence Parks building.”
According to Rev. Perry, that building is in such poor shape it is no longer an option, and he understands the Food Bank will replace the County Library in its lower level arena location should the library move to the high school, once renovated.
“I was really hoping they (municipality) would give us half of the bottom of the arena,” says Rev. Perry. “But I understand that it is going to the arena staff for a workshop/storage. It would have been a perfect fit for us.”
“We’ve been open for 11 years, and we are averaging 2,000 to 2,500 people a year. The $2,000 we receive in donations (goodwill donations from those who benefit from the Helping Hand, and donations from the community) is put back into the community.”
Recently, money was donated to the Breakfast Programs at Seaway High and Morrisburg Public Schools. “We’ve also given a lot to the Food Bank over the years.”
“People have come to us and told us that if we weren’t (Helping Hand) here, they didn’t know what they would do. The clothing donated to us is top notch and we made a decision at the start, that if we wouldn’t wear it, it wouldn’t be used.”
“One lady has been using it over and over through the years to clothe her children.”
“Those are the kind of stories we hear every week.”
“It is really amazing what we have done locally, and we’ve sent truckloads of clothes overseas when we couldn’t handle it all.”
The Helping Hand is run by volunteers and there is no charge for the clothing, although visitors can make goodwill donations.
“We have helped people from all over. We wish we could keep it open, we really do. It’s too bad, and I understand the town doesn’t have the money for a building.”
“I do believe the number of working poor is getting larger. It’s unfortunate we need a place like this but we do. If there was a place found, we wouldn’t even think about shutting it down. If they would reconsider letting us share with the Food Bank that would be ideal.”
That, however, according to Rev. Perry, is not an option at this time, and the Helping Hand is preparing to close by the October 17 deadline. Arrangements have been made for representatives from Agape in Cornwall to visit the facility, with the hope that they will be able to take the clothing.
Located at 40, Fifth Street West in Cornwall, the Agape Centre runs a Food Bank, Soup Kitchen and Thrift Shoppe.
South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds says he is appreciative of the service the Helping Hand provides to the community. “It’s unfortunate, but hopefully they will find somewhere in the community.”
Byvelds confirmed that the long-term plan is for removal of the former Parks building. “That building is done, and we are only spending what we have to, to keep it going.”
He says there has been some discussion of moving the Food Bank to the arena location, but the discussions are very preliminary and nothing is decided and nothing can or will be decided until the final plans are in place for the high school.
Those plans, are for the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic to occupy the first floor (ground level) and the municipal offices to occupy some or all (if necessary) of the second floor. Once these two entities are accommodated then the remaining space, including the third floor, will be considered.
Lunch and a backstage tour of the Upper Canada Playhouse was on the menu for this month’s Linking Hands Lunch and Learn program.
Linking Hands is a project of the The House of Lazarus Community Outreach Mission.
Although its mission is to give a voice to people living in poverty in the communities of Dundas County by raising awareness, and offering networking, empowering and supporting opportunities, Linking Hands welcomes all residents of Dundas County to join in their activities.
Community Lunch and Learn is an opportunity to socialize and enjoy a free lunch while learning about various topics of interest.
This month, two dozen people were at the Upper Canada Playhouse, which opened its doors for the luncheon. Lorne Pardy, a former actor and director with the Great Canadian Theatre Company spoke about acting.
“This is a rare opportunity where my past and present are intersecting,” said Pardy, while centre-stage at the playhouse.
Pardy is now the coordinator for Linking Hands Dundas County. For the first time in about five years, he also acted performing a moving dramatic piece for the audience assembled for the luncheon.
Following Perrin’s performance, Upper Canada Playhouse director Donnie Bowes took guests on a tour backstage of the playhouse were they saw the ‘green room’ dressing rooms, prop room and workshop were all of the sets are built on site.
Participants enjoyed the backstage tour, seeing the modest facility behind the scenes of this area’s popular attraction.
“This is a great opportunity for anyone to get out, socialize while enjoying a new experience,” said Pardy.
“We are really pleased to be able to offer this program,” said Janet Carkner, executive administrative manager with the House of Lazarus.
She said that the program offers a free social opportunity for those who may be feeling isolated, which so often happens in a rural setting.
They will arrange transportation and child care for those who may need it at each of their Lunch and Learn sessions.
They hope to grow their club, and at each meeting ask those attending to come back to the next one, and if possible, to bring a friend.
Nancy Christie with the Lunch an Learn program was pleased with Friday’s event.
“We had such a great opportunity here,” she said. “Everyone who comes to Lunch and Learn, always learns something.”
Since Linking Hands is a Dundas County initiative, events alternate between North and South Dundas.
The next Lunch and Learn will be at a Chesterville area sugar bush. The next South Dundas event will be in May when mental health will be the focus.
Two years, ninety pounds lighter and feeling great, Raw Chef and Wellness Coach Dwight Saunders is now offering his knowledge of a lifestyle change that for him, and many others, has led to better health.
Sometimes called the “raw food diet” the change to eating completely raw, unprocessed food is not so much a diet, as a lifestyle.
The fundamental principle of “rawism” is that plant food in its most natural state–uncooked and unprocessed–is the most wholesome for the body. A raw food diet is rich in nutrients, full of fiber and low in fat and sugars. It does not include meat. Heating food is acceptable as long as the temperature remains below 118ºF. Above that and the natural enzymes in food are destroyed.
Saunders and partner Helder Ambrosio, who live in Morrisburg, now operate their business Aura Escapes in three locations in the Iroquois Shopping plaza. They have their Aura hair salon, their Auro Arts Studio where they hold Fabric Sculpture Workshops and their Culinary Arts location where Dwight offers Raw Foods Workshops along with exciting themed Culinary Workshops.
“When I say raw food, that doesn’t always mean cold,” explained Dwight as he prepared for a February 23 Workshop attended by Tina Connolly of the Shanley area, Paul Donovan of Brockville and Bonnie McNairn from the Morrisburg Leader.
He kicked off the day-long workshop by going over safe food handling practices and then a brief talk on “high speed blenders which replace the stove and the food dehydrator which replaces the oven.”
“A lot of people think it is more time consuming to make raw food. There is a lot of prep work, but more people like me don’t have the time, so we rely more on fresh ingredients.”
Saunders also stressed that “there are no peanuts used on the premises, there is no gluten in any of our classes and there is no dairy in our classes.”
From there the class watched as he prepared non-dairy milk (from dried almonds that had soaked overnight) and water.
The non-dairy milk then became the base of a Basic Fruit Smoothie to which was added frozen fruit (berries and pineapple) and ice.
Next began the preparation for lunch done by the students who followed the recipes provided by Dwight. Lunch included Dwight’s Carrot Ginger Soup, Kale Salad, and Chipotle and Tahini Broccoli salad with Cauliflower rice.
The soup became slightly heated from the blender and was served warm. Both the salad and rice were quite tasty. The rice, as implied, was made from fresh cauliflower, pine and macadamia nuts, miso, and cold-pressed sesame oil. All went into the food processor and processed until fluffy and rice-like.
In addition, the students dined on Kale Salad with ingredients that included avocado, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice, chopped dates, Himalayan crystal salt, black pepper, nutmeg, raisins and hemp seeds.
Dessert was Chocolate Mousse made from ripe avocado, dates, cocoa and water and spooned into a raw food pie crust made from almonds, raw honey, dates, salt and vanilla.
After lunch the group set to work on preparing the evening meal which was taken home. That included the preparation of a marinara sauce, noodles made from zucchini and fresh and light carrot cake topped with cashew cheese frosting.
“Cooked food we eat with our pallet; raw food we eat with our brain,” says Dwight. “When we eat cooked food, our liver and brain are still looking for something more.”
“Until I ate raw, I didn’t know what is was to be full. I could always eat more. Now I don’t.”
Dwight explained, the raw diet provides an alkaline diet that is disease preventative, while a cooked diet is an acid diet “which provides a place for disease to grow. That’s why we are clogged.”
He says that there are various reasons that people will consider a “raw diet”. Some are looking to lose weight, others to detox and still others just to become healthier. People with certain allergies and health issues are also looking to raw food diets. It is important to note that peanuts are not used; however, many other nuts are staples.
“If you can get to 80 percent raw, then you are on your way to success…and there is still room for some meat.”
“There is nothing better than having your own garden and eating from it. When you grow your food at home, you know what you put in it.”
Two years ago, Dwight says he had some serious health issues. “I do have good health now, as before I didn’t. I was vegan for most of my life, but as a vegan I could still have french fries.”
In the past year, Dwight has spent a lot of time translating his grandmother’s recipes to “raw food recipes”, a lot by trial and errors. “I needed to figure out what would give me the same consistency. What I could use say in the place of an egg. “I’ve done the work, and I keep coming up with new ideas. Sometimes it’s an accident,” he says recalling times when he has thrown in a wrong ingredient and come up with a really good taste.
Dwight says that when he went to raw, “it was like night and day. In just weeks and I saw the difference. I had been on diets, but this is not a diet. It’s making a simple life change. You aren’t depriving yourself of anything. More and more people are realizing that what we are eating is making us be in pain.”
Dwight does encourage anyone who is considering a raw food diet to attend his workshops. Literature also advises that people ease into the diet gradually.
Dwight is currently offering Raw Foods Workshops once per month with the next coming up on April 27.
Exciting themed Culinary Workshops include a Lebanese theme on April 28. Themes range from Thai, to Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, etc.
The facility can handle up to 12 people, but Dwight prefers groups of six to 10.
The workshop fees are $95 per person and include the workshop and meals. Pre-registration is a must by calling 613-543-4444.
Dwight will also do evening dinners for groups. “People will ask for this or that often for a girls’ night out, but now couples dinner parties are becoming more popular.”
Also coming up on the Aura menu are monthly organized dinners to allow people to come in and “get a taste of what we are all about.”
In total there are 12-15 different kinds of classes that Dwight will be entertaining, everything from seasonal pickle and jam making, to producing non-dairy cheese. Week-long youth camps are also in the works for this summer. For more information please visit www.auraculinaryarts.yolasite.com
At the June 26th South Dundas council meeting, manager of public works Hugh Garlough made three presentations asking for permission to purchase some items and sell some items.
First on the docket was the request to purchase a single axle salter snow plow from Tallman Truck Centre in the amount of $171,703.09 plus HST.
According to Garlough, “this is a new 2013 model truck” and it is fully equipped.
As part of the request, Garlough explained that the new truck is over budget by $14,725.18 and he was, therefore, requesting approval for an increase to the 2012 budget allotment for the item. The extra money, he said, would come from the Fleet Replacement Reserve.
Up next, Garlough requested permission to purchase a backhoe loader from Nortrax in the amount of $82,650 plus HST.
This item came in under the budgeted amount of $100,000.
Tenders for both items were advertised in local newspapers as well as on the South Dundas website.
Following the approval of the new purchases, the question became what to do with the old truck and backhoe, which Garlough explained, are now surplus. He recommended that council approve the sale of the surplus items at Rideau Auctions in Winchester.
The surplus items for sale will include a 1993 IHC single axle snow plow salter and a 1994 backhoe loader. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Sale of Asset Reserve Fund.
All requests were approved, although not quite unanimously. Deputy-mayor Jim Locke, who hadn’t been on board with a new backhoe loader during budget talks, asked, “Did we decide on the backhoe?”
“Yes,” replied mayor Steven Byvelds, “you lost on that one.”