MORRISBURG – “People everywhere facing struggles always praise one group: the volunteers, the people who step in to help them during those difficult times.
You are all the South Dundas Army,” said Janeen Wagemans, one of the organizers of 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas, to the donors gathered at Upper Canada Playhouse, Thursday, May 18.
“This room tonight is full of people who would be the first at your door to volunteer, the first to help in a crisis, the people who support their neighbours.”
During the course of the third annual 100 Women event, the recipients for this year’s charitable donations were Meals on Wheels and Naomi Family Resource Centre, who each received all of the funding they were requesting.
Meals on Wheels was presented with a cheque for $7,500 and Naomi Family Resource Centre received $10,000.
There were 11 applicants for 2017 funding through the 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas.
The winning charities are chosen by ballot during the actual meeting.
However, volunteer organizers Wagemans, Tracey Veinotte and Rosemary Laurin, report that as cheques are still arriving, third place contender, Girls Incorporated, will also receive some funding from the May 18 event.
Bob Ruddock, speaking on behalf of Meals on Wheels, pointed out that the group’s more than 70 volunteers have been delivering hot, nourishing meals to clients for over 40 years.
The daily visits of the volunteers also act as a kind of “safety check” for many of the clients, Ruddock explained, ensuring that they have regular outside social contacts.
With their funding, Meals on Wheels hopes to purchase an industrial dishwasher for the Morrisburg kitchen, to permit more time to prepare food and to contact clients.
Verna Leger, executive director of the Naomi Family Resource Centre said that the shelter for women and children, often the survivors of abuse, has been in operation for 30 years.
To date Naomi House has helped over 1,900 families in need.
Leger explained that the organization will use the 100 Women’s funding to purchase new and needed equipment for clients, and to improve the centre itself, in order to keep it “a safe, healthy and welcoming place for women and their children.”
Organizers Wagemans, Veinotte and Laurin, praised the tremendous support 100 Women has received from the South Dundas community.
They also thanked Scotiabank volunteers for being on hand again this year to count and process cheques; Donnie Bowes for generously lending the Playhouse facilities; and those who donated the beautiful door prizes for the event.
“Your generosity added a sparkle to our meeting,” Wagemans said.
The three organizers also pointed out that the presentations made by the other eight groups hoping for funding have created a ripple effect.
“Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of our ‘meeting,’” Wagemans said, “is just hearing about needs in our community and getting people thinking about how they can help.”
Already, several of the ‘South Dundas Army’ are out there working to find ways to support those applicants who didn’t directly receive funding this year. “We can’t all sandbag,” Wagemans said, “but we can see a need and dispense band-aids. We can make a difference in the lives of our neighbours.”
Plans are already underway for the 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas 2018 event.