“In 1991, the three United Counties and the province of Ontario united to build this seniors’ support centre. In 20 years, it has grown beyond all expectations. It has played a vital part in senior health and home care. It has made a real difference for seniors in our community,” said Janet Levere, executive director of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation.
She welcomed well over 100 dignitaries, volunteers and friends to a 20th anniversary celebration of the J.W.MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in Williamsburg on Tuesday, October 18.
Board members, past and present, members of the South Dundas council and J.W.MacIntosh Support Centre staff also joined in the festivities. Guests and visitors were able to see displays and posters highlighting the activities and services available to the community.
The event ended with the celebratory cutting of a cake.
On October 23, 1991, The Morrisburg Leader did a feature about the Park Lane Senior Support Centre describing it as “part of a pilot project for the province of Ontario, with sister projects in Stormont and Glengarry counties.”
The article went on to say that the project was “69 per cent funded by the Ministry of Social and Community Services, covering the cost of the Outreach Centre and 31 per cent funded by the Ministry of Housing. The Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing is the sponsoring agent, who applies for the grants and handles the administrative aspect.”
In 2006, the building was officially named the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in honour of John MacIntosh.
The Centre is a key focus for area seniors and their families. It currently offers Meals-on-Wheels, the Diners Club, respite care, foot clinics, supportive housing and assisted living. “In 2007, we began to offer the Going Home program to assist seniors who were leaving the hospital,” Levere said.
Chair of the board of directors of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation, Jim Kooistra, offered his anniversary congratulations.
“I am very glad that in 1991, a group of people decided to build this facility. It was the first of its kind, a real pilot project for the province,” said Kooistra.
“In the past 20 years we have served 70,000 meals (through Meals-on-Wheels and the Diners’ Club) and provided people in our community with a little help or a lot of help depending on the need.”
Seniors Dwight Gilmer and his wife, Marian, both of Iroquois, began as volunteers for Meals-on-Wheels, and now take advantage of that service and others offered by the Centre. “It is so wonderful to know that a great facility like this is here to help us, and to help us stay in our homes,” Gilmer said.
Senior Helen Gill of Morrisburg said that the staff and volunteers of the Centre are “loving and kind and so supportive.”
The hard work of area volunteers drew praise from speakers at the celebration.
“Our volunteers have done so much for the Centre. They serve from the heart and have dedicated themselves to helping others,” chairman Kooistra said.
In 2010, volunteers logged over 6,000 hours of recorded volunteer time.
Mary Osborne and Winnie Gorman shared why they devote time to the Support Centre.
“I believe that if you are able to do something of benefit to others, then you should do it,” Osborne said.
“I go home from (volunteering) here feeling rejuvenated and happy,” said Gorman. “I recommend taking the time to offer a helping hand.”
Mayor Steven Byvelds joined councillors Jim Locke, Evonne Delegarde and Archie Mellan, in honouring the 20th anniverary of the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre.
“It is a great pleasure to see how a service like this is used in our community,” mayor Byvelds said, then added, “In 20 years, I expect that I will be looking to use these great facilities.”