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Halloween is dress-up time


Halloween is just days away now and people have already begun decorating for the holiday, planning for parties, making or buying costumes and candy, and stockpiling the scariest of movies for the October 31st celebration. For those who read my editorial about how much I love Thanksgiving, well, Halloween is a very close second-runner-up for my favourite holiday.

Unfortunately, Halloween tends to get a bad rap from some, which leads me to ask, “Do you know the origin of Halloween?”

Halloween, the celebration not the name, originated from the pagan celebration of Samhain. It is a time to celebrate the end of harvest season. It is a time to take stock of the year that has passed. Sound slightly familiar? In my opinion, Samhain holds a little bit of Thanksgiving and a little bit of New Year’s Day themes. So, if this is how Halloween originated, why has it become the “day of the dead”?

Well, it is also believed that this is the one time of the year when the veil between the worlds, the dead and the living, is thinnest. It is also the day before All Hallow’s Eve, more commonly referred to now as All Saints Day on November 1st. (And in case you haven’t made the connection yet, it is believed that All Hallow’s Eve is where the term Halloween originated.)

Disregarding the history of masks and costumes being used to scare off evil spirits or demons, I believe that Halloween is another opportunity to give thanks. This time, we can thank those we love who have passed for being in our lives and for being who they were when they were here with us. It is a time to remember them.

It is also another opportunity to be thankful for what we have right now: family, friends, health and life itself.

So why do we dress up in scary costumes, collect candy or go to parties? Because it’s fun. Do you remember being a kid? Did you like dressing up? Well, we’re all still little kids inside and Halloween gives grown-ups (as well as children) permission to dress up and be silly.

So, on October 31st remember to be thankful for those you love, here in person or here in spirit, and celebrate by dressing up and having some fun. Take a page out of Mr. Dressup’s book and rifle through your Tickle Trunk for a fantastically original costume. 


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Perspectives by Rev. Norine Gullons


Last evening our Women’s Group at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Williamsburg hosted an evening with Nancy Horton. Nancy is a stay at home mom and mother of three boys.

What is so remarkable about this particular woman?

Nancy is a breast cancer survivor, author, and inspirational speaker. Nancy spoke with clarity and honesty about her journey with cancer and also shared her “faith” walk through life.

In speaking she opened up chapters of her life story so that others could hear and read of her struggles and where she support and encouragement to persevere in her life.

You may have heard Nancy in July on 100 Huntley Street. Her books “Hope in the Midst Darkness” and “The Big Fat Bald Head” are her way of providing a light in the darkness of cancer.

It seems these days that everyone knows someone whose had been touched by cancer. If not by cancer by another illness or grief, depression or issues within their family.

Nancy’s focus on forgiveness and self-esteem are important issues in life.

Our acceptance and love of who we are as individuals is an important step in our acceptance and love of others and of our love for our God. Nancy reminds us all again that we a NOT alone in this world!

I quote from her blog: “You have a Heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally and wants to have a relationship with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you. There will always be trouble in this world, but it’s always easier to go through life’s struggles when someone is holding your hand.

Let God be your answer.”


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Luke Whitteker race season recap


At the end of 2010, Luke Whitteker won a scholarship for the Race 101 Program in North Carolina, a scholarship that will culminate in his graduation later this fall. 

During the first few months of 2011, he traveled once a month to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend classes and learn  about the motorsport industry, from on track skills to chassis set up, and all things technical to the off track skills of marketing and communication. 

Throughout the year, the young Iroquois driver participated in online seminars (webinars), as the learning experience continued about the motorsports industry, and all aspects of it.

On the track in 2011, Whitteker posted a season high second place finish at Cornwall Speedway on July 24th, and a season high third at Autodrome Granby on July 22nd. 

He began his first season at Granby driving for the Clement Henri team, but posted his best finishes after switching back to his own Whitteker Motorsports ride. He finished the season ninth overall at Granby, and was the track’s top rookie driver this year. 

At Cornwall, Whitteker finished the year sixth overall in track points With the last three events of the season falling to rain, he lost any chance he had to make up ground and move into the top five.  

He also started the year running the Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified championship series, but decided to end their season in late September to focus his attention on his first year studies at Carleton University, as well as the end of the Race 101 Program.

Over the course of the year, Whitteker Motorsports proudly supported the CHEO Foundation (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) in Ottawa, raising money through t-shirt and merchandise sales.  

They donated nearly $1,000 to the CHEO Foundation and with some t-shirts still on hand, that figure could go even higher.

With the 2011 racing season over locally, Whitteker has plans to return to North Carolina to finish up the Race 101 program and graduate. 

During the first week of November, he will participate in class seminars, and will be provided the opportunity to turn some laps in a Race 101 prepared pavement Late Model at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.

Currently, all Race 101 students are participating in a social networking contest and Luke is seeking help from everyone to go to the Whitteker Motorsports Facebook page and simply “like” the page.  

The more votes Luke gets, the better his chances are of winning the contest.  At last glance, Luke is leading the contest, which ends very soon.  

Go to  HYPERLINK “” and click on the “like” button at the top.

Whitteker Motorsports had great sponsorship support during the 2011 season from Rust Check, Coldwell Banker, Steve Summers Coburn Realty, Jim’s Performance Plus, Parcoll Products/Napa Auto Parts, Quaker State, Riverside Pontiac, Thompson Tim-Br Mart Iroquois, Toy Storage, Wells and Son Construction, 730 Truck Stop, Lloyd McMillan Equipment Ltd., ERD Engine Research and Development, Cohen and Lord Insurance and Finish Line Web Design.

Luke Whitteker and the Whitteker Motorsports team are currently looking for sponsors for the 2012 racing season.  

For more information, please contact Luke Whitteker at  HYPERLINK “”

Whitteker also is grateful for the hard work of his pit crew which this year included Dustin Gillard, Travis McMillan, Jeff Whitteker, Kyle Dingwall, Joe Janson, Shawn Nixon, Julie Nixon and Kevin Whitteker.



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Stephen McCann launches Luxury Links in Morrisburg


Although he doesn’t plan to retire in the near future, nor take up golf for that matter, Stephen ‘Steve’ McCann has taken a big swing towards making golf a part of his retirement plans.

This Saturday, McCann is hosting a grand opening for his new business, Luxury Links, an indoor golf program complete with a Full Swing golf simulator located at 91 Main Street in the Morrisburg Shopping Plaza, east of Thom Travel.

McCann kicked off his golf simulator business venture in mid-August, when he went to work to renovate the building to accommodate the hitting area.

“My idea was to design a comfortable place for people to come in and have a game of golf, and I am really pleased with the way it has turned out,” he said during an open house this past weekend.

In addition to the room that houses the Full Swing golf simulator, golfers will be able to relax in a lounge area, where coffee and vending machine snacks and beverages are available.  (The facility is not licenced.) A washroom area is located at the back of the building.

“This is two months worth of work. I started it on August 17th, and completely gutted it. I lost about 20 pounds,” he says of the construction phase that was done in the evenings and on the weekends.

A self-professed non-golfer, McCann says he first considered the idea back when Caldwell Linen Mill in Iroquois closed and he was out of a job. Although he found work at the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic, “the idea has been brewing for six years.”

Now as the golden years draw closer, he’s 57, he says he wanted to get something in place that would give him something to do.

A market study told him there are, “11 golf courses (in a 35km radius of Morrisburg) with an estimated 6,000 golfers. The closest indoor simulated golf experiences are at South Mountain and Prescott. After that you have to go to Brockville or Ottawa. There is nothing to the east. I have a seven year plan. If this works out, I’d like to open others in the area.”

What sets Luxury Links apart from other simulated golf setups, is that it is a member-only club.

McCann sees competitive/experienced golfers joining to stay at their game during the off-season, and the more casual and non-golfers using it for entertainment.

Hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily, seven days per week and club membership is limited to 60 contracted membership hours. Once 60 hours have been contracted, the membership will be cut off, and that will leave an additional 40 hours available to the members each week for extra play.

There are three membership categories with corresponding fees and a fee schedule for extra play. 

First to drop in to the open house was Morrisburg golfer, Jim ‘Sudsy’ Whelan, who was completely sold on the concept and impressed with the facility even when his first shot, off the first tee at Pebble Beach, went only 220 yards. Shot two, was 140 yards into the rough, followed by a chip that left him with a 15.7 foot, downhill breaking right to left, putt…which he missed.

“It’s a riot,” says McCann. “I had my IT guys in the other night and they had a great time. And none of them play golf.”

The Luxury Links program offers 12, 18 hole golf courses, two par three courses and a driving range. Complimentary left and right hand clubs are available.

“Pebble Beach is what everyone seems to like,” says McCann explaining the simulators were originally built for training tools, but soon were “recognized for their entertainment value.”

The simulator can be set up for sunny or cloudy days, with or without wind. There is even a ‘shot booster’ button for maximum yardage and the option to add spectators who will cheer you on.

Shot accuracy and speed are measured by two 360 degree tracks on the Full Swing simulator, which according to McCann was one of the first developed. “When the ball bounces back, it measures the slice/hook. There’s a three point measurement.”

Luxury Links will not be manned. Members will have their own access cards and bookings can be made online.

The unique membership pricing system has been done to make “it much more affordable.”

“I’m excited,” said McCann. “I think it is going to be good, once people get used to it.”

“A couple can come out and have some exercise and fun, or a foursome can get together. It is meant to be an affordable alternative to having to travel to play.”

“I can see members come in for coffee and sit around and visit…golf buddies who maybe don’t see much of each other in the off season.”

“I travelled to Ottawa last winter,” said Whelan. “I had a Myrtle Beach trip planned, and I wanted to swing some before I left. This is great to have this here.”

“Memberships will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis, up to the 60 contracted hours. I could book more, but that is not my goal. The season will run from October through April and reduced prices for members will be offered during the summer golf season.”

“I’m the best kept secret in town right now and I don’t want that.” 

People can drop in to the grand opening Saturday from 1-5 p.m., check the website at or call 613-643-3003 and leave a message.


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Pilon to participate in Rick Hansen 25th anniversary Man in Motion Relay


Tayler Pilon was just two years old when her grandfather, Les Bilmer, was left a quadriplegic after an accident in the fall of 2000 injured his spinal cord.

After the injury from a fall, and a year in hospital, her ‘poppy’ was brought home, where he was cared for, round the clock by Grandma Inez and the entire Bilmer family including young Tayler, the only tiny tot in the family at the time.

“I helped Grandma crush up his pills, and there were pockets in his wheelchair where there were always treats for me.”

“It was hard. It was 24-7 care,” says Tayler’s mother, Laury. “I am sure Dad lived as long as he did because of her. She would crawl up in bed with him and have her naps. There were always little treats under his pillow.”

Les passed away in May of 2004, and Tayler, now 13, has fond memories of the days she spent with him.

That’s why, when her Aunt Debbie learned of the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary Man in Motion Relay, Tayler was eager to apply to be part of it. 

She was one of 8,000 Ontarians who applied and one of 2,000 who were successful.

This Saturday, October 29, Tayler with Grandma Inez and a large number of the Bilmer family will be in Smiths Falls where Tayler will run her 250m of the relay that started in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, on August 24, and will end May 22, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Twenty-five years ago, Rick Hansen wheeled through 34 countries in 26 months to complete his now-famous Man in Motion World Tour.

His mission was to inspire the world and realize the dream of raising millions of dollars for spinal cord injury research, making communities more accessible and inclusive and changing the way people looked at the potential of people with disabilities.

In March of 2010, the 25th anniversary campaign began with the official launch of the Rick Hansen Institute, founded in 2009. This independent institute is a Canada-wide collaboration dedicated to accelerating progress toward a cure and improving the quality of life for people who live with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities.

One of the key events of the 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour is the current nine month Rick Hansen Relay which Tayler Pilon of Morrisburg is participating in, in memory of her grandfather, Les Bilmer, this Saturday, October 29 in Smiths Falls.

Tayler has set a goal of raising $1,000 for the Relay.

“We are trying to raise $1,000, and we are at $700 now,” she said last Wednesday. “We have donations from my aunts and uncles and the Legion, the  Legion Ladies Auxiliary and friends.”

“We didn’t have to make a donation, but I wanted to.”

Although Tayler was not yet born when the original Man in Motion Tour took place, she has since studied and learned about the effort.

“I looked up information on Rick Hansen, because I really didn’t know much about him. He wheeled for 26 months and has raised $26 million.”

“He became like a national hero, just like Terry Fox did.” 

Tayler says she is excited about running her leg of the relay and is proud to have the opportunity to carry the 25th anniversary commemorative medal with 16 other medal bearers in Smiths Falls.

The event is sponsored by Nike and McDonald’s, and Tayler will run in a uniform provided by Nike and will receive a replica of the commemorative medal.

For those who wish to travel to Smiths Falls, Tayler will be running at about 3:54 p.m. She is scheduled to attend a briefing at the Smith Falls Memorial Community Centre at 2:15 before being taken by bus to her segment of the relay.

Family and friends are advised to look for the relay segment with Tayler’s Medal Bearer # MB067-025.

For those who can’t make the trip, but would like to help Tayler reach her $1,000 donation goal, you can donate online. Information on the link can be obtained by emailing Laury and Tayler at For more information you can call them at 613-543-3961.


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Natalie Robinson

A lifelong resident of the district, Natalie Robinson (nee Fetterley) passed away peacefully at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Saturday, October 15, 2011. She was in her 90th year.

Natalie was the beloved wife of the late Wilburn Robinson. She was loving mother of Lois (Donald) Knapp of Iroquois and Hugh (Debbie) Robinson of Manotick. She was the cherished grandmother of six grandchildren and great-grandmother of two.

A resident of Morrisburg, Natalie was formerly from Chesterville.

Friends paid their respects at the Daniels Funeral Chapels Inc. in Winchester on Sunday, October 16. The Order of the Eastern Star service was held Sunday evening.

The funeral service was held in the chapel on Monday, October 17, at 1 p.m., with Rev. Wendy Wright MacKenzie officiating.

Pallbearers were Natalie’s grandchildren.

Interment was at Grantley Cemetery.

Donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Cancer Society or a charity of choice would be appreciated by the family.


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Robert John Locke

A native of Williamsburg and resident of Barrie for the past month, Robert John Locke passed away suddenly at home on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. He was 44.

Robert was born in Ottawa on April 16, 1967, to his parents Parker and Elizabeth “Bettie” Locke (nee Lennox).  

Being the youngest of six children meant he was spoiled by all, especially his sisters. The first seven years of his life were not unlike any of the other children. Then his father died. 

By this time, only he, sister Lauren and Bettie were at home. Lauren was attending university in Ottawa, and his mother went back to work. 

Robert became a latch key child, although his neighbours always kept a watchful eye on him. The Kehoe’s and Barkley’s were very good to him. With help, he persevered. He attended public school in Elma, then Maple Ridge and finally off to Seaway District High School in Iroquois. 

Robert’s greatest asset was his personality, and during high school he became well respected by his peers and teachers alike.  He developed leadership skills through his involvement in students council, and he eventually earned the reputation as being the official planner for his class.  These leadership skills would serve him well throughout the remainder of his life. 

Following in his older brothers’ footsteps, Robert enjoyed a few extra curricular activities one of which included spending time at the cottage on Ault Island.  

With respect to sports, Robert enjoyed playing baseball and hockey but his greatest sporting love was football. He and Gerry Mabo played in Cornwall, and as a one/two punch, became two of the best players on the team. 

Robert moved away shortly after high school to attend Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough where he made many new friends. He completed a two year course in law and security, then went back and completed a business course where he ended up on the Dean’s list. 

Through this honor, he met some notable people, one of whom hired him at the lottery corporation.  Through hard work and determination he advanced quickly to become Director of Facilities & Maintenance at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.  He was part of the startup program, which included the construction of the various lottery sites throughout Ontario, including Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. 

It was during the end of that period that he met his future wife Maha. They were married in a quiet ceremony in London on March 20, 2004.  Robert and Maha have three children, Jad 14, Amanda 6 and John 5.  Maha’s parents, along with her sister Lina were always willing to lend a helping hand allowing them the freedom to enjoy life to its fullest which they did. Good plan! Their zest for life took them on 15 vacations in the 11 years they were together. They also enjoyed hosting and attending parties with their family and friends. 

After the lottery sites were up and running, Robert moved on to become General Manager at Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia owned by his friend, Jim Henderson. He helped Jim with the day to day operations of running this establishment. Jim gave Robert a free run of the place and Robert enjoyed, not only working in the front office, but on the track and in the backstretch as well. But, as in life, all good things must come to an end. 

Robert left Sarnia on good terms to become General Manager at Georgian Downs in Barrie and had only been working there for approximately one month when tragedy struck. 

Robert is survived by his wife Maha, his children Jad, Amanda and John, his siblings Mahlon (Paula) of Morrisburg, Duane “Sam” (Claire) of Williamsburg, Elizabeth Locke-Dickey (John) of Williamsburg, Wendy Casselman (Jim) of Williamsburg and Lauren Harriman (Craig) of Williamsburg. 

He was a dear son-in-law of Faouz and Maurice Abou-Elias and brother-in-law of Nada, Eva, Lina and Maroun Abou-Elias.  

He was predeceased by his parents Parker and Elizabeth “Bettie” Locke.  

Uncle Robert will be sadly missed by John (Amy), Thomas (Marla), Jane (Bobby), Parker, Marissa (Kyle), Wendy (Phil), Jason and  Sarah.  He was a dear great-uncle of Kathryn, Emily, Joshua and William.  

Robert will always be remembered as an amazing brother, loving husband and father, super uncle, and true friend to many.

Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg,  on Saturday, from 2-6 p.m.  Funeral service was held at Williamsburg United Church, on Sunday, October 9th, at 2 p.m., with Rev. Christine Lowson officiating.  

Interment followed at Spruce Haven Cemetery, Brinston. 

Pallbearers were Brian McAdam, Gerard Palmer, Robert Currier, Lyle Schell, Ted Houck, and Scott Lockhart.  Honorary pallbearers were Andy Lee, Jason Mandel, Eldon Horner, Paul McCaslin and David Lapier. 

Donations to the C.N.I.B. or Williamsburg United Church would be appreciated by the family.



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Phyllis English

With her family by her side, Phyllis Minnie Arlene English (nee Smith) passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 25, 2011, at Winchester District Memorial Hospital.

Phyllis was born November 18, 1914, in Iroquois to the late James and Ethel Smith.

She was the dearly beloved wife of the late Albert English and loving mother of Jeannine (Ed) Barkley and Carol Ann Montgomery all of Iroquois. She was the much cherished “Mum” of Debra (Brian) Coughler of Spencerville, Sheree (John) Hanson, Chris (Nancy) Barkley all of Iroquois and Julie (Jerry) Lynch of Brockville.

She will be most sadly missed by six great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren and by several nieces and nephews.

Phyllis was predeceased by brothers Ralph and Harry Smith and by her son-in-law David Montgomery.

Phyllis was a woman of great spirit, wit and determination. After the Second World War, she and Albert purchased English’s Dry Goods which they ran until 1976, when they retired.

She was family oriented and was always proud, caring and supportive of her family. Her home and her gardens were always impeccably kept.

Having survived the depression years, she was always mindful that all who came to her home were well fed and entertained. She truly enjoyed singing, dancing and especially enjoyed traveling.

Family and friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Iroquois on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, with the funeral taking place on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.

Following the service interment took place at St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, Iroquois.

Donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation will be gratefully acknowledged by the family.


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Frederick Albert Hill

Frederick Albert Hill passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, October 2, 2011. He was 82.

Fred was the loving husband of 61 years of Norma (nee Hunt). He will be greatly missed by his children Paul (Rosemarie) and David, both of Morrisburg and Beverley (Gary Styba) of Markham. He was proud grandfather of Trevor, Travis, Emily, Zoe, Spencer Hill and Aaron and Michael Styba.

He was predeceased by his granddaughter, Tara Hill, brother Denis and sisters Gwen Gordon and Vivian Nightingale.

Born in Limehouse, Ontario, on October 19, 1928, Fred was renowned for his work ethic, strong civic values and outgoing personality.

Determined to be his own boss, Fred worked in a variety of jobs that included getting his sheep-shearing license in Australia, digging out Hamilton Mountain, and assembling fighter jets at A.V. Roe in Milton before starting Kingston Dunbrik with his brother Denis and brother-in-law Allan Gordon in Kingston.

The brick manufacturing business brought Fred to Morrisburg in the mid-1950’s when the partners decided a second plant was needed to fill a growing demand for brick prompted by the St. Lawrence Seaway project.

After the sale of the brick business in 1963, Fred ventured into the insurance business before partnering with his brother Denis once again to purchase the mobile home park now known as Hill’s Mobile Village in 1966.

Never one to sit when he saw a need, Fred committed his spare time as Reeve and member of council for many years in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He met the Queen, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony when the 401 opened at Morrisburg and drove the town’s first Zamboni from the train station to the arena.

He was instrumental in many projects around Morrisburg, taking particular pride in spearheading the rebuilding of the arena.

He was a member of the Morrisburg Lions Club and the Morrisburg Curling Club for many years.

In his later years, with sons Paul and David having taken the reins of his businesses, Fred and Norma spent much of their time travelling and socializing in their vintage GMC motor home. They wintered in Florida for many years and continued to make new friends.

Wherever they went, Fred was always quick to lend a hand.

At Fred’s request, there was no service or visitation. For those who wish to remember him, donations can be made to Winchester District Memorial Hospital or the Dundas County Food Bank. On line condolences may be offered at


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Sharing in South Dundas

I’ve learned a lot this week. I learned that October 16th is World Food Day. I learned that October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. I also learned that while there are many people working toward eliminating poverty and helping those in need, there are also those who are bent on spreading the false perception that everything is okay and what can be done is being done.

I’d like to point out that just because you don’t see poverty everyday, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. And, like breaking a law, we shouldn’t be able to claim ignorance for our blindness to those around us who are in need of help.

Since I started working for the Leader I’ve discovered that there really is a huge world outside my door. Like many others I hid behind that door “minding my own business” and “not getting involved.”

 While I’m definitely not encouraging anyone to become a Nosy Nellie, I do believe it is everyone’s responsibility to get involved in making life better for all members of our community.

I recently attended the Community Living Dundas County’s Ladies Night Out at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners. During a short speech, Board Member Marja Smellink said, “I’m grateful to live in a very compassionate and generous region.”

She’s right. This is a very caring, compassionate and generous region. There are a number of people who share themselves and their time by volunteering in a number of causes. There are also a number of people who faithfully attend events and donate where possible.

What I’m asking is whether or not you belong to that group? In the last two years of living in this community I can honestly say that, until now, I did not. I’ve had to reassess my own priorities and ask myself, “What can I do to make a difference? Where can I best help out?”

I’m not suggesting that everyone run out and join every charity. I’m not suggesting that you give your last dime to charity. I’m also not suggesting that you commit yourself to things you can’t realistically do. What I am suggesting is that you ask yourself the same questions: “What can I do to make a difference? Where can I best help out?”

And, if you can, when you buy your groceries, buy something extra and toss it into the Food Bank bin for someone who needs it.