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.
“Well, Santa says he had such a good time during our Morrisburg Santa Claus parade that he promises he’ll be back for sure on December 24,” said George Davies, parade marshal of the 19th annual parade, held on Saturday, December 3. “We had a perfect day for our parade: couldn’t have asked for nicer.”
Five performing bands, over 50 floats and displays, dancers and beloved Christmas and fantasy figures took part in the parade.Service groups, clubs, businesses, churches and charitable organizations all joined in the celebration.
Large and very enthusiastic crowds filled the streets everywhere.
“It was just wonderful to see this kind of community support,” said Davies, who put over nine kilometres on his ATV 4-wheeler, courtesy of Jimmy Primrose, as he whipped up and down the route ensuring that everything went well. “We had over 200 people taking part in the 2011 parade. I just can’t say enough about all the effort that went into this event, the hours volunteered by the organizers and participants. It was cheerful, fantastic work by all.”
This year was the biggest parade yet, with several people coming from outside Morrisburg to enjoy or to take part in the festivities.
Floats featured everything from Christmas wrapped heavy machinery to Grinchmobiles and merry Christmas tableaux. “It was incredible to see how creative and interesting all the floats were,” Davies said. “Our mayor, Steven Byvelds and our MP Guy Lauzon and MPP Jim McDonell also came to take part in Morrisburg’s show.”
Davies says that the planning for the 2011 Christmas parade began the day following the 2010 parade. “I’m already at work on 2012,” he laughed.
After hot chocolate and hot dogs with little visitors at the civic centre, Santa and Mrs. Claus caught a Reindeer Express back to the North Pole.
“I just want to say many, many thanks to everyone who helped along the way,” said George Davies.
Saturday June 29, another “don’t miss” summer event takes place along the shores of the St.Lawrence in beautiful Lamoureux Park in Cornwall. It’s the 10th annual Mopar Magic Car Show which hosts collector cars and enthusiasts from across Ontario, Quebec, and Upstate New York.
The Mopar Magic Car Show is held rain or shine and runs from 11a.m. – 4 p.m.
As always admission is free to the public, so bring the family and enjoy the day, and vote for your favorite Mopars. Your ballots will select the winners of 25 People’s Choice trophies, plus 5 additional “modern muscle” awards for the newer generation of Chargers, Challengers, etc. Best Club Participation, Long Distance Award, and Lou’s Pick trophies are awarded as well. All presentations start around 3 p.m.
The day is sponsored by Notman Chrysler Dodge Jeep and is a major annual fundraiser supporting activities of the local Girl Guides.
This year the 17th Cornwall Pathfinders and Rangers are sending a group of 12 to England, so proceeds from their all day barbecue and 50/50 draw will help defray some of their costs.
Mopar Magic has grown to become Canada’s largest, single day Mopar-only event, and this year we expect to host approximately 275 Mopars. You can check out last year’s show on You Tube under Mopar Magic Cornwall 2012.
The name “Mopar” was coined in the late 1930’s as a contraction of “motor” and “parts” recognizing Chrysler’s Parts Division. Since then it has evolved to include a family of iconic brand names including Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Desoto and AMC.
Mopar products were renowned for their high impact colours during a past, now nostalgic era, and a colour spectrum of Lime Light to Vitamin ‘C’, Plum Crazy to Panther Pink, will brighten anyone’s day.
Hemi’s, 440 Six packs, Max Wedges, and even the famed Slant Six will be represented to rekindle memories of your first car, or perhaps the weekly Sunday cruise with mom and dad.
As well, renowned Canadian artist Michael Irvine returns with a huge display of his automotive-themed art, both original and prints.
Fabulous 50’s-60’s-70’s music will be supplied by Johnny B. Good and radio station 104.5 FM will broadcast live throughout the day.
So mark your calendar for Saturday June, 29 and join us for Mopar Magic 2013. It’s great family fun….. and it’s all free.