People in Caledon gave lots over the holidays
By Bill Rea
The generous spirit in Caledon came shining through yet again in this holiday season.
Numerous groups and agencies, including the local schools, not to mention individuals, came through to help those less fortunate have a good time during the season.
Caledon Community Services (CCS) once again was at the fore of the efforts.
Fiona Ott, director of fundraising and communications for CCS, said there are a number of projects being conducted to the benefit of the agency.
She said the Husky Challenge took place again.
For the sixth year in a row, Husky Injection Molding Systems once again matched every dollar donated to the Santa Fund, up to $25,000.
“Husky is proud to be able to provide continued support to Caledon Community Services. We have participated in the annual Santa Fund campaign for six years and are happy to contribute to this worthy cause that helps to assist families and children in need at this time of year,” said Husky’s Vice President of Corporate Services and General Counsel Michael McKendry. “I hope that we can encourage other local business leaders to help the Santa Fund reach its goal by generously giving back to the community during the holiday season.”
“We’re very aware that it is the community’s residents and business owners that drive the Santa Fund to success. It is through our community’s support that hundreds of families are able to celebrate the holidays and build hope for the year ahead”, commented Monty Laskin, CEO of CCS. “Husky’s support is really quite extraordinary; it brings this community together in the spirit of giving.”
The Santa Fund was run out of the brand new Food Exchange that recently opened on Healey Road in Bolton.
“We have a permanent home,” Ott declared. “That’s where the Santa Fund will be every year.”
“The spirit of giving is alive and well over there,” she added.
There’s still a way to go in the fundraising, but Ott pointed out the campaign goes until the end of January. She added that while the campaign is focused on the holidays, it supports year-round programs, like nutrition, food support and healthy community.
When it comes to the Santa Fund, Ott said there are about 200 families registered, and they include approximately 250 children. Those figures are generally consistent from previous years.
“It’s about the same,” she said. “The families change, but there are different needs.”
“Here, the needs are more hidden,” Ott observed, pointing out there are more common cases of people facing problems at home, such as caring for sick children, dealing with job loss, etc. “That’s what this community does.”
Officers at Caledon OPP were doing their bit too.
Partnering with Orangeville Police Service, who publicly made an appeal for assistance to their local food bank, students at six Caledon schools collected food items and filled police cars in the annual Cram the Cruiser program.
School officers collected approximately 4,000 pounds of food.
This year also involved a Toy Drive collection, hundreds of items that were delivered to Dufferin Family Services and Salvation Army for distribution.
Many of the schools in Town were pitching in to help others, in one way or another.
Students and staff at Belfountain Public School helped cram a couple of cruisers. As well, Secretary Debbie Sutton reported they were taking part in the Share the Joy program, through the Peel District School Board.
Caledon Central Public School was also part of the Share the Joy program.
Teacher Paula Civiero said the program is run through social workers at the board. The school took care of two area families, with students collected money through doing chores, etc. There was also a drive at the school in support of the Caledon Food Bank.
Students at Herb Campbell Public School were busy too.
In addition to taking part in Share the Joy and Cram the Cruiser, Office Manager Brenda Smith said the school had also set up a Candy Cane Tree. Students took a cane from the tree, containing details about a child in need, and bought a gift for that child.
The people at Holy Family Elementary School in Bolton were busy supporting the efforts of CCS.
Head Secretary Margaret Proctor they were collecting toys and gift cards for the agency.
“That’s been a major fundraiser for the community,” she observed.
James Bolton Public School was also active in its support of CCS.
Assistant Office Manager Dawn Dodig said staff and students were collecting food and toy contributions for the Santa Fund.
There was a lot going on at Macville Public School.
Teacher Assistant Louise Milliken said the school collected toys for CCS. There was also a mitten tree set up, which gathered an assortment of mittens, hats and scarves for CCS. They presented a cheque recently for $2,084, but in reality, the total donation from the school is going to come to $2,760.
She added staff at the school has been busy on the charity front too. They adopted a family and obtained a wish list of needed items, as well as doing a big drive for the United Way.
There have also been fundraising efforts over the year to aid Syrian refugees, as well as victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.
“We usually do quite a bit for such a small school,” Milliken said.
There were three police cruisers that were crammed by students at Palgrave Public School.
Secretary Sylvia Forletta added the school continues with it support of Sleeping Children Around the World.
Students at St. Cornelius have been involved with Project Gift.
Secretary Carri Badger said students have been putting items like clothing and other essentials into Tupperware containers and sending them to CCS though St. John’s Church Albion.
People at St. John the Baptist Elementary School were busy collecting for needy families within the community, Secretary Louise Grant reported.
Caledon East Public School got an early start in their efforts, holding a food drive around Halloween. Teacher Keri Houle reported the effort collected some 795 food items that were distributed through the Free the Children Foundation.
She added staff was involved in contributing to Share the Joy.
Things have been busy at Ellwood Memorial Public School in Bolton.
Principal John Stegeman said they collected about 2,000 items for the CCS food drive, as well as their ongoing support for Sleeping Children Around the World.
As well, he said students had been collecting Canadian Tire coupons in order to buy toys for needy children, and the local Canadian Tire store had agreed to match the contributions.
SouthFields Village Public School was the scene of more cruiser cramming in support of the police efforts.
Principal Matt McCutcheon reported they gathered more than 900 cans of food, representing a lot more than one can per student. He also said here was a Candy Cane Tree set up at the school.
“We’re really busy,” he declared. “It’s a very generous and caring community that we’re part of.”
Students at Allan Drive Middle School in Bolton were busy cramming cruisers too. Secretary Cathie O’Keefe said they also conducted a food drive in support of the efforts of CCS.
Students at Alloa Public School made their contributions to a Mitten Tree, according to Principal Tammy King. She also said the Children’s Aid Society referred the school to three families in need of assistance.
The local high schools have been very busy too.
Urszula Cybulko, chaplaincy leader at St. Michael Catholic Secondary School in Bolton, reported the school library had been organizing the development of Christmas baskets containing contributions from local families. They were going to Romero House, a facility near High Park in Toronto that supports refugee families.
She also said representatives of the school spent an evening in December doing street patrols in Toronto, supplying food and drink from Tim Hortons.
“We were on the news,” she remarked.
“We are doing all sorts of stuff,” declared Nisheeta Menon, acting chaplain at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East.
She said one of the classes at the school did a food drive. The proceeds of that went to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul through St. Timothy Catholic Parish in Orangeville.
The school also saw a sock drive, which benefitted a homeless shelter in Toronto run by Good Shepherd Ministries.
As well, Menon said the school prepared Christmas hampers to assist some local families, and there were two families at Romero House who benefitted from Hall’s efforts.
The charitable efforts at Humberview Secondary School in Bolton has had an international focus this year.
Teacher George Allain said the students started an initiative in support of Canada Aid for Chernobyl, which supports orphans of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
“We decided this might be a good approach,” he said.
He added the contributions to these young people included sports equipment and household goods.
There were charitable activities at Mayfield Secondary School too.
Teacher Vivian Myre reported there was a food drive, as well as adopting a family in the area. Students were told about the needs of this family, “and they went berserk,” Myre said.
More than $10,000 were raised.