theatres and Distribution centre benefit from teachers
Cheryl James, president of the Huron Country Playhouse Guild received a donation from RTO District 9 Vice-President Bruce Whitmore recently. (Photo by Marg Whitmore)
Bruce Whitmore presented a donation to General Manager of the Blyth Festival, Rachel King. (Photo by Marg Whitmore)
The Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) District 9 Huron-Perth thought they could put some unused programming money to good use this Christmas. Donations of $1,200 were made to each of the three local theatres in Huron and Perth, and to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre in Centralia, ON.
Theatres are important economic drivers in Huron and Perth County and their welfare is of utmost concern to many RTO members who are volunteers, donors and patrons at these theatres. The funds will be directed to youth and education programs in each of the three locations: Blyth Festival, Huron Country Playhouse and the Stratford Festival. And, of course, food bank use is at an all time high - the HCFBDC also services both counties.
RTO District 9 represents approximately 1,200 teachers and education workers in Huron and Perth counties.
L-r: Wilhelmina Laurie, secretary of RTO, along with Cathy Hugill, Goodwill chair and Jean Weigand, Service to Others chair, presented a cheque to Mary Ellen Zielman, Executive director of the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre recently. (Photo by Joe Laurie)
Food banks and Christmas Bureau benefactors
Don Edward, General manager at Edward Fuels, and the Edward Fuels team recently presented a cheque to Angela Kerr with the Goderich Salvation Army.
Don Edward, General manager at Edward Fuels, and the Edward Fuels team presented a cheque to Trish Harris with the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society for the Huron County Christmas Bureau recently. (Submitted photos)
Together with the Esso™ Community Program, McDougall Energy Inc. and Edward Fuels (a Division of McDougall Energy) have donated $25,000 toward four local organizations supporting individuals and families over the holidays. Donations will go directly to Kincardine and District Ministerial Food Bank, Walkerton and District Food Bank and Gift Program, Goderich Salvation Army, and Huron Perth Christmas Bureau.
“These organizations are pillars in the community for so many individuals and families who are in need year-round, and they go above and beyond at Christmas to help bring joy and unite families during the holidays,” said Don Edward, General manager, Edward Fuels (a Division of McDougall Energy). “Edward Fuels is proud of our roots in Goderich and nearby communities since 1945, and together with McDougall Energy, we’re grateful for the opportunity to give back where we live.”
By providing essential services such as food banks, Christmas hampers, gifts for Christmas, emergency accommodation and so much more, these organizations are vital to local families and individuals. With the help of many volunteers, community support and generous donations, they help provide comfort to people of all ages and ease any burden caused by additional financial stress during this time of year.
“This has been a very challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to help brighten up the holidays for those who receive Christmas Cheer in the communities we serve, and where our customers and employees live,” said Darren McDougall, president, McDougall Energy. “McDougall Energy is built on the support of our customers, and we are committed to giving back to our communities through our Community Investment Program.”
Dianne Waram, manager of the Walkerton & District Food Bank said, “The Walkerton and District Food Bank is grateful for the generosity of McDougall Energy and Edward Fuels, which will go a long way to support our Christmas Hamper and Gifts program. Their support will help us provide food and gifts to those in need living in the communities we serve throughout the holiday season.”
“This year, we have seen a significant increase in need within our community. Without the support of donors and partners such as McDougall Energy and Edward Fuels, we could not continue to meet the growing need we are seeing as individuals and families seek support from our Community and Family Services,” said Lieutenant Angela Kerr, Salvation Army Goderich.
Trish Harris, Volunteer coordinator, Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society Christmas Bureau added, “The Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society is extremely thankful for the generosity of McDougall Energy and Edward Fuels. Their support will help approximately 500 Huron County families experience a positive Christmas this year.”
Nancy Dawson and Pat Stewart, coordinators with Kincardine & District Ministerial Food Bank concluded, “At the Kincardine and District Food Bank, we welcome all persons in need of food and personal items year-round, and the holidays can be a challenging time of year for many people. We are thankful for this donation that will help fill the Food Bank shelves and bring Christmas cheer to our community.”
Part II Bistro is but one story of small businesses stepping up
In May, the Government of Ontario launched its “Small Businesses, Big Hearts” – initiative - a campaign designed to recognize the remarkable ways Ontario small businesses have stepped up and supported their local communities throughout COVID-19, even when they themselves were struggling with adapting to challenges caused by the pandemic.
The small business community has risen to help the vulnerable and those stuck at home, with countless people generously giving their time and resources to make and deliver food, run errands, and check-in on those who are isolated and alone.
The Small Businesses, Big Hearts Award, launched by Premier Doug Ford and Small Business Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria, solicits stories of small businesses across the province that have shown true Ontario Spirit through their generosity, amidst the uncertainty and challenges brought on by COVID-19. Many of these businesses have altered their business models and paid it forward, providing inspiration and creating hope in their local communities.
“Many Ontarians are facing pressures in ways we’ve never seen before because of the global pandemic,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. “Part II Bistro (in Goderich) helped their local community by donating services, resources, and time to help others. The Big Heart Small Business award is aptly named for Peter Gusso and his staff for their generosity.”
Associate Minister Sarkaria agreed.
"As I connect and host virtual roundtables with small businesses across the province, I'm also hearing about the tremendous generosity of our small businesses and the many ways they are giving back to their communities," she said. "In so many remarkable ways, these local heroes are demonstrating the Ontario spirit. Part II Bistro is one of the recipients and I would like to congratulate them on the Small Businesses, Big Hearts award.”
Gusso, owner of Part 2 Bistro, made the difficult decision to fully close his restaurant in light of social distancing directives. On the last day before closing, he and his staff sent 90 salads and desserts to staff at the Alexandra and Marine Hospital in Goderich. The logistics of distributing these items to the staff and physicians was done so in a safe manner to respect social distancing, as well as reducing the number of people that had “hands on”.
The government’s Small Business Big Hearts initiative provides a platform to highlight small businesses that have helped their communities and made life a little easier for their fellow Ontarians. Many small businesses have shown true Ontario spirit during this period, strengthening the foundation of their communities and helping Ontarians through this recovery.
Anyone who knows of a small business that has stepped up and shown the Ontario Spirit in their community, is invited to send the story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.
“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit: www.hpph.ca
The Gift of Lights Committee for the Clinton Public Hospital (CPH) Auxiliary cancelled their Nov. 27th Celebration for the Gift of Lights due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. It has always been a sincere joy to celebrate the lighting of the lights on the tree across the road from the front entrance to the hospital. The lights have been lit up honoring the many memories of individuals and families that have been a part of the community for a number of years.
Donations have been given to CPH Auxiliary for the purchases of new equipment that has been needed and used at CPH. These donations have been given in memory or as gifts to special people in the donors’ lives. Even though the celebration was cancelled they still lit up the tree so those memories and gifts from past years can continue to shine and brighten up people’s lives at this beautiful time of the year as they drive up Shipley Street.
Donation toward the Gift of Lights for 2020 would be welcome and appreciated. Any donation of $20 or more will be given a tax receipt. A cheque could be mailed to: Gift of Lights, CPH Auxiliary, 98 Shipley St. Clinton, ON, N0M 1L0.
Are you looking for a gift idea for that special someone this holiday season? A present doesn’t have to have wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons to be a gift. A local charity asks people to consider a ‘gift to nature’ this year.
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) offers a number of ‘green gift’ ideas ranging from donations in the name of someone towards their favorite nature trail, tree planting to green the watershed, education programs for youth, turtle programs, wetlands, or pollinators. Other ideas include snowshoe rentals or purchasing trees for someone to plant on their property – these are gifts that keep on giving.
“You make a difference to the health of your community when you buy a green gift,” said Abigail Gutteridge, ABCF secretary. “A Gift to Nature is something special, something different, and it makes a positive difference locally.”
Nature gifts include outdoor experiences. They benefit local water, soil, and habitat for living things. Donations of more than $20 receive a charitable gift receipt for income tax purposes. Certificates are also available acknowledging the gift.
To find out more about giving a gift to nature, visit abca.ca online or phone 519 235-2610 or toll free 1-888-286-2610.
An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) - Stratford General Hospital has been declared over by Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH). The outbreak had been declared on the Medicine Unit on Dec. 3 after two staff tested positive.
“Upon declaring the outbreak, immediate precautions were implemented, included enhanced cleaning and prevalence testing in over 140 staff and physicians,” said President and CEO of HPHA, Andrew Williams.
The outbreak affected seven staff members in total. No patients acquired the virus while in hospital.
As there have been no further cases, the Medicine Unit has been reopened to admissions and transfers. Family and caregiver presence on the Unit has also been restored. Full guidelines can be found on their website at www.hpha.ca.
“While this outbreak is over, we can’t stress enough the importance of continuing to follow public health measures such as handwashing, mask wearing, physical distancing, getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19, limiting social interactions and staying home if you are sick,” said Williams. “We are seeing cases rise in our communities and the province as a whole and we need to remain vigilant.”
MPP Lisa Thompson has announced the provincial government is providing almost $2 million to local municipalities to offset operating costs for critical services and help ensure that no municipality carries an operating deficit into 2021.
“This funding will provide our communities with the support they need to continue delivering critical services that we all rely on everyday,” Thompson said in announcing the Safe Restart Agreement funding. “The money will help municipal councils in Huron-Bruce to develop a 2021 budget that reflects the reality of COVID-19 and give them the confidence they need to proceed with capital projects that will drive economic growth.”
The Ontario government is allocating an additional $695 million across the province to provide financial relief for municipalities and help ensure they do not carry operating deficits into 2021. This investment builds upon the first phase of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced this summer.
“This joint funding will help Ontario’s municipalities recover from the impacts of COVID-19 faster, by helping them to enter into 2021 without operating deficits from this year,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark. “By ensuring our municipal partners are in a sound financial position to begin the new year, they can better focus on keeping their capital projects on track while continuing to provide the critical services their residents rely on.”
Thompson also announced that Huron and Bruce Counties also will receive $299,700 and $167,600 respectively for social services relief funding. The discretionary funding can be used to improve the delivery of critical services, protect homeless shelter staff and residents, renovate and purchase shelter facilities, add to rent banks, create longer-term housing solutions and support plans to prepare for potential future outbreaks and/or emergencies.
“Our government is responding to the ongoing needs of COVID-19 by providing more flexible funding to keep our vulnerable citizens safe,” said Thompson. “We know that COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of having a place to call home, and this additional funding will help ensure everyone can find – and keep – a safe and secure roof over their head.”
Following is a break down of the Safe Restart funding amounts going to local municipalities and counties.
Bruce County $500,000 (plus $167,600 in Social Services Relief Funding): Brockton, $53,000;
Huron-Kinloss, $51,000; Kincardine, $75,000; Saugeen Shores, $100,000; and South Bruce, $30,000.
Huron County $367,000 (plus $299,700 in Social Services Relief Funding): Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, $38,000: Bluewater, $66,000; Central Huron, $249,000* (Application based funding) and $52,000; Goderich, $44,000; Howick Township, $234,000* (Application based funding) and $21,000; Huron East, $48,000; Morris-Turnberry, $19,000; North Huron, $28,000; and South Huron, $57,000.
*The application based section is for 48 municipalities who, after the first round of Safe Restart Funding, in August, still faced 2020 operating budget shortfalls.