It is with heavy hearts that we write our latest post. On December 6th, 2017, surrounded by family, our co-founder and chairman, Dr. Terry Chute, passed away. Terry had always been a humanitarian and spent countless hours doing mission work in many different locations.
After witnessing the great success of the OPP Christmas Food Drive for over 20 years, Terry and his wife Marilyn saw that the need far exceeded just the Christmas season and they founded the West Muskoka Food Bank in 2011.
Our board of directors and group of volunteers have vowed to hold Terry’s vision for the West Muskoka Food Bank very close to our hearts. Terry’s vision was to grow the Food Bank to serve the growing number of families who need our help. Our mission now is carry on with Terry’s vision and see it through to its full potential.
We will continue to lean on the generosity of our volunteers. We will continue to nurture existing relationships with our benefactors and we will reach out to create relationships with new benefactors to be able to meet the needs of our fellow community members.
Rest in peace, Terry. You left us very big shoes to fill.View Article
Well, now that Halloween is over it is time to start thinking about Christmas. For the food bank that means the food drive and preparing Christmas hampers. We have begun registration. The good folk at the First Muskoka Church have graciously offered their fellowship hall again. The school has scheduled the date for their Christmas assembly for December 15. So, the date and time are set. Now we need you! Last year we gave out over $10,000 in gift cards to about 75 families. From this years stats, indications are that we will have considerably more families to serve. If you are able to help in any way we sure would appreciate it. Each year is a journey of faith to meet our targets. So far we have never been disappointed. Do your part to make this the best Christmas yet.
You can donate through the PayPal button on our web site or by sending a cheque to the West Muskoka Food Bank, Box 463, Bala, ON, P0C 1A0. Food items are also very much appreciated. They can be dropped off at Foodland in Port Carling, Freshmart in Bala, or at the Bala Post Office.
A big thank you is in order to the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and in particular Nora Fountain for organizing a very successful After Hours event at the Glen Orchard School House to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in this location. We had over 40 members present and raised over $400.00 as well as receiving a large amount of food.
Thank you to the Impact Cafe for catering, the Rails and Nails for entertaining, Lucky Duck Fudge and The Apothecary Shop for co-sponsoring. Thanks to Norm Brent at Muskoka Self Storage for providing wine and Sheila Overbeek for pouring it. Thanks to Clear Lake Brewing and Georgian Bay Spirit Co.for providing other refreshments. Thank you Muskoka Lumber for the door prize.
Just as we were winding down, some cottagers dropped in with another 350 pounds of food. What a generous community that we live in! Neighbour helping neighbour.
The food bank is pleased to be able to host the next Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce After Hours on Tuesday October 10, from 5:00-7:00 pm at the Glen Orchard Community Centre (across from the Glen Orchard Public School on Hwy 169). We look forward to showing off our new location, updating the community on the tremendous growth of the food bank over the past year, and sharing our dreams for the future.
The event will be catered by the Impact Café, a successful social enterprise that hires unemployed Muskokans, teaching them skills useful for their future careers. We are grateful to the Apothecary Shop, Port Carling Mini-Storage, Muskoka Lumber, Lucky Duck Fudge, Georgian Bay Spirit Co., and Good Vibes Muskoka for partnering with us to make this a great event.
So join us for good food and drink, good conversation, a chance to learn about your local food bank and a successful social enterprise, and lots of fun. There will also be an opportunity to donate food or money in support of the food bank. We look forward to seeing you there.View Article
Last Thursday I became a part of a beautiful story. If you want to feel warm and fuzzy, grab a coffee, sit down, and read. This is a story about love, connection, beautiful people, children, and a ball of yarn.
John and Mary (not their real names as they wish to be anonymous) are cottagers that have been supporters of the food bank for 3 years. Their concern is that Muskoka children be warm in the winter months. They value greatly the dignity of the individual and feel strongly that one way to build up the self esteem of children is by giving them good quality brand new winter coats, boots, hats, gloves and scarves. They go around in the spring on their own initiative and take advantage of the winter clearance sales. The first year they brought a few items, last year 20-30 coats and boots. Well, last Thursday they showed up with an SUV packed to the gills with items for Muskoka’s kids!
That is wonderful in itself but the story gets better. Last year John and Mary went around to church Christmas bazaars looking for items for their ministry. They stopped at 1 table of hand knitting and the lady asked them which toque they would like to purchase. Mary, with a grin on her face, said she would like to buy all of them. When the lady recovered she asked why and Mary explained that she wanted to help economically disadvantaged children in Muskoka. The bazaar lady thought for a moment and then explained that she and a friend were both retired with time on their hands. They both love to knit but their difficulty is that they have limited financial resources themselves with which to buy the wool. Resourceful Mary said that she would supply them with wool if they would knit for the children. A partnership was formed.
But the story gets better still! Last summer Mary was visiting in Port Carling at a local gift store. She and the proprietor were having a heart to heart conversation as they had both lost their mother over the previous winter. Somehow the conversation got around to knitting and the story of the 2 retired ladies down south that were knitting for the food bank but did not have enough wool. The proprietor began to tear up. Mary asked her what was the matter and she pulled out a huge ball of wool from under her desk in the gift shop. She explained that this ball of wool was her mother’s and she didn’t have the heart to throw it out but did not know what to do with it. She gave it to Mary and asked her to give it to the 2 knitters to knit items for the food bank. Needless to say the knitters were deeply moved by learning the origin of this ball of yarn.
They spent last winter turning the ball of yarn into toques, mitts, and scarves which were brought up on Thursday night to the food bank. This is quite a yarn of a tale! We are now knitted together through love for kids, desire to encourage respect and dignity, desire for meaning and purpose of some elderly ladies, sharing of sorrow, and the birthing of new life and hope in the hearts of Muskoka children as they receive their brand new winter coats, boots and hand knit woollies. God is GOOD!
Our last post describes our school book bag program. We purchased 20 bags and already 15 are gone! Now we just have to pay for them! for $25.00 you can help us pay for 1 bag. For those who have responded a big thank you. For the rest of you, come and join us so that we can get some more! you can use our PayPal button, write a cheque to West Muskoka Food Bank noting school bags and mail to Box 463, Bala, P0C 1A0, or drop in and see us during our food bank hours. Let’s get our kids off to a good start this year.View Article
Our Back to school bags are ready and available starting this Thursday evening. They look great! You get a brand new bag, a ruler, pencil sharpener, crayons, glue, pens, pencils, highlighter, markers, exercise book, paper, and a granola bar. If you need one or know of someone who does, come along to the food bank Thursday eve or Friday am during food bank hours over the next few weeks, and pick out your bag. Hurry before they are all gone!
Our kids will be off to a great start to their school year. We extend a very big thank you to Mary Ann Debes and her friend for arranging the bags.
Contents of Book Bags
Happy Volunteer!View Article
How would you like to help a financially challenged child get a good start to the school year? You can by supporting our Back to School Bag Program. For just $30.00 you can provide a child with a bag, and basic supplies like paper, pencils, erasers, crayons rulers etc. Last year we helped 20 children. If we can raise only $600.00 we can do it again this year. It just takes 20 of you to each donate $30.00.
You can donate on line using our PayPal account (click on “Donate$” button, or mail cheque to: West Muskoka Food Bank c/o T. Chute, Box 463, Bala, ON, P0C 1A0. Cheque can be made out to “West Muskoka Food Bank” putting “school Bags” on notation line. We will be sure to mail you a tax receipt. Thanks so much for your help raising up a new generation of well educated Muskokans.
> “The Muskoka Food Bank is pleased to announce we are now providing gently used clothing for our clients. Stop in during regular hours and choose from a selection of baby clothes, children’s clothes, new push toys, women’s and men’s apparel, shoes and bedding. We currently have a good selection of men’s pants, jackets and T-shirts.
> If you are donating clothes, we will gladly accept clean, gently used items in good condition.
> New undergarments, socks or underwear can also be donated. Due to our limited space, we cannot accept household items such as dishes or decorating items, but these can be dropped off at the recycle center on Eveleigh Road.
> We are currently accepting summer clothing. Fall & winter items can be donated in late September or early October.
> Thank you all for supporting the West Muskoka Food Bank. ”
The AGM of the West Muskoka Food Bank will be held on Wednesday, June 14 from 10:00-12:00pm at the new site of the food bank at the Glen Orchard Community Centre on Muskoka Road 169 (across from Glen Orchard Public School). Lunch will follow. Come and hear a report on the new initiatives of this past year, help us elect a new slate of officers, and help us dream about the possibilities for 2017. The meeting is open to all who are interested.View Article
What a fantastic time we had at Brooklands Farm last weekend with our pancake breakfast which raised much needed funds for the Dollars for Dinners crock pot meals. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. If you would like to check out the video go to https://vimeo.com/212099218 Thank you to Al, Wade, Don, Steven, Toni, Marilyn, Susan, Matt, and Karen. Special thanks to Katya and Ken Riley who were our hosts at Brooklands FarmView Article
We are pleased to be partnering with Brookland Farms (Butter and Egg Road near Milford Bay) to celebrate Canada 150 with a delicious family pancake breakfast on the weekend of April 1-2 from 10:30-3:30. There will be horse drawn wagon rides, maple toffee in the snow, roast marshmallows, singing, as well as a delicious meal. Proceeds from the meal will go to the West Muskoka Food Bank. For details go to http://www.brooklandsfarm.ca/maple-weekend-2.php .View Article
Over the past few months food bank clients have been the recipients of healthy home cooked meals made in their own crock pots! Thanks to Susan Nairn and Shamrock Lodge we have received well over 100 meals prepared by volunteers under Susan’s direction. Susan is a certified food handler and of course Shamrock Lodge has a certified Kitchen. Volunteers come together and prepare crock pot meals from fresh vegetables and meat, put them in a freezer bag, freeze them and bring them to the food bank. Here our clients collect them and take them home. All they have to do is follow the directions on the bag, thawing them for 24 hrs, placing them in a crock pot (provided), and cook for 4 hours. Voila! A delicious home cooked meal.
We were featured on CTV News (Barrie) last night and, for those of you interested, here is the link: http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1038245&binId=1.1272429&playlistPageNum=1
Thank you Susan and all your faithful donors and volunteers.View Article
Our annual Christmas food drive and hamper distribution will occur on Friday, December 16 from 9:00 am-2:00 pm. It will be located at its traditional spot in the Fellowship room of the First Muskoka Church at 3852 Hwy 169. Donations for the food drive can be brought to the church on Friday mornings from 9:00-11:00, or to the food bank Thursday evenings 6:00-8:00 or Friday mornings 9:00-11:00.
If you would like to receive a hamper or know of someone who could use one please call 705 644 0684.View Article
There will be a meeting of the volunteers on Thursday, November 17 from 10:00 -12:00 pm at First Muskoka Church. This will to give everyone an update on our move and plan for the Christmas Food Drive planned for Friday, December 16. All volunteers are welcome and bring a friend! We need more volunteers to keep up with our increased utilisation. Did you know that so far this year we have served 116% more people than last year at this time!
There will also be a Board meeting on Wednesday, November 16 from 7:00-9:00 pm at First Muskoka Church.View Article
As a result of our move, we now have room to expand our services. We have begun a thrift shop (all items are free) and have been able to provide some baby clothes, adult clothes, sheets and bedding to a number of individuals. It has been well received so far by our clients.
We welcome donations of GOOD used clothing, bedding, and winter coats. We do NOT have room for furniture/appliances but do have a “Trading Post” where people can state if they have an item to donate or clients can indicate a need. We could also use a couple of clothing racks if anyone should have one.View Article
This morning the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes gave final approval of the move of the food bank from the First Muskoka Church to a new location in the Glen Orchard Community Centre located directly across from the Glen Orchard Public Elementary School.
We are sad to say good bye to the First Muskoka Church location and the generosity of the folks there who have provided us with accommodation for the past 5 years. However they have assured us of their continued commitment to our cause and their blessing. We thank them very much for helping us get started.
As our programs grow and client base increases we find ourselves in need of more space. The basement of the community centre is ideal for this. There is lots of room to house all of the food bank in 1 room. In addition there is potential for starting a thrift store and/or a community kitchen in the future. Access is improved with fewer stairs. The location is right across from the school where a number of our client families attend.
Be assured that, although we are no longer in a church building, we remain a faith based organisation committed to welcoming and loving people of all faiths or no faith at all.
We will be moving next Thursday am from 9:00 – 11:00 am. If you have time to help us then or help pack boxes a few days before, please call Marilyn at 705 644 4345. Thank you.View Article
News flash! As of today, June 9, you will be able to make donations on line. Since we now have our charitable number from the Canada Revenue Agency we can issue tax receipts in the name of the food bank. We have established a PayPal link and you can donate using a credit card, debit card or PayPal account. You can give a one time donation or pledge a monthly amount. An income tax receipt will be issued at year end.
All you have to do is go to the page “Donate $” and follow the links. Thanks so much for your ongoing support.View Article
On April 21 we had our first official AGM. It was a good time to review where we have come from and dream about the future. There were 27 people present representing most of our community organizations, churches and one council member from the township/district. At the meeting our statistics, finances and budget were approved. A slate of officers were elected, and future initiatives discussed. Our faithful volunteers were honoured and we enjoyed a delicious lunch thanks to the catering of Dawna Roy. For those interested, the minutes are posted below:
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
April 21, 2016
Lynn Macpherson, Rev John McCauley, Dr. Terry Chute, Marilyn Chute, Sandra Gostick, Karen Holdsworth, Edna Gostick, Rev Steven Smith, Ginny Wadge, Don Wadge, Mavis Legris, Angela and rick Newfeld, Gail Decaire, Lynn McBride, Linda Stringer, Donna Hillyard, Linda Hutton, Pamela Smith, Rev Margaret Johnston, Nan Allen, Rev Sue Woods, Detective Constable Don Hammond, Janet Leenaars, Councillor Ruth Nishikawa, Richard Graham, Dawna Roy
Terry Chute thanked people for coming.We went around the circle with people giving their name, community and any church and/or organization that they represented.
Offered by Rev John McCauley
Adoption of Agenda as Circulated:
Moved by Angela Newfeld, Seconded by Linda Hutton; carried
Terry Chute gave a brief history of all that led to the formation of the West Muskoka Food Bank:
– 20 or more years ago the idea of a Christmas food drive came from a men’s Bible study group in Bala. Const. Don Hammond and Rev Steven Smith took leading roles.
This evolved into an attempt year round to respond to needs for food in the community. Each of 6 churches were responsible for 2 months of the year.
Five years ago it was decided to have a regular location and hours of operation.
Summer 2015 we were the designated charity for the Mayor’s Golf Tournament This gave the food bank greatly increased visibility.
A major donor came forward offering to fund ongoing initiatives including the legal process of incorporation. This was accomplished under the name of “The West Muskoka Food Bank”.
Charitable status was applied for from CRA and we recently received word from the lawyer that we will be receiving a confirmation letter with our charitable number in the coming weeks.
We have put appropriate insurance in place through First Brook, Cassie and Anderson Insurance in Port Carling.
We have sought out an accountant to receive our financial records and file income tax returns.
Having previously had a spring and fall volunteer meeting, we decided to make the spring meeting the AGM.
Financial and Non-financial Statistics:
see documents attached.
Angela Newfeld shared what it is like to be a food bank user. We have no means test. We allow clients to “shop” for what they need and always endeavor to respect the dignity of the clients.
see documents attached.
Marilyn Chute spoke to our financila status and budget for 2016. We anticipate Richard Onley giving us an official report before filing for income tax. It was noted that we should have stated the current bank ballance. It is $41,351.52 as of March 31, 2016. We thanked Gail Decaire, treasurer of FMCCC for her diligence in keeping track of donations made through the church, including issuing of tax receipts. This activity will cease when we receive our own charitable number.
Moved by Marilyn Chute, seconded by Richard Graham that we accept the financial report. …. carried.
The budget figures were explained and discussed. The food bank as an incorporated body begins its history with certain assets. Ongoing we will have to show CRA appropriate use of money received by donation.
Moved by Marilyn Chute, seconded by Janet Leenaars that we accept the budget for 2016. … carried.
Moved by Don Hammond, seconded by Richard Graham that we appoint Richard Onley as our accountant. …. carried.
A lengthly discussion ensued about the possibility of a change in location. Dawna Roy spoke to her feelings of there being a space issue in our current location. She observes some tension when some clients are shopping while others are waiting. Lynda stringer mentioned the problem of accessability which could be adressed in a new location. Richard Graham talked about the advantages of the Glen Orchard Community Centre: central location, back entrance with few stairs, 2 washrooms, reasonable or possibly no rent required by the township, room for extra programs such as :Getting Ahead”, room for everything (frig, freezer, storage etc) all in 1 room. Angela Newfeld spoke to the fact that First Nations People have a history with Christian churches, which may impact their comfort level in coming to the food bank located in a church. Nan Allen has not seen any evidence of this. Dawna Roy suggested that we are not talking about the current clients but about those not coming. Pamela Smith said that hungry people will come. Ruth Nishikawa referenced the success of community suppers in church basements in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. Lind Hutton suggested that the food bank could fund meals going to shut-ins or elderly by way of Meals on Wheels. Presently they deliver 12 meals/wk. Nan Allen emphasized the needs of the elderly living on fixed incomes.
A decision in this regard will be made by the board at their meeting in June.
Nominations for slate of officers for 2016:
chair – Dr. Terry Chute
vice-chair – Rev. Steven Smith
sec/treasurer – Ms. Marilyn Chute
board member – Det. Const. Don Hammond
board member – Mr. Richard Graham
client representative – Ms. Angela Newfeld
Moved by , seconded by that the above slate be approved. …. carried.
Certificates were presented to many of our wonderful folunteers for their faithful service.
Moved by Lynda Stringer
Rev Smith said grace for the lunch that followed, catered by Dawna Roy
At the AGM held last week it was announced that our charitable status had been verbally approved and we were just waiting for the official documentation. Today we received it and are now known as 79793 4890 RR0001 by CRA. We now have the privilege of issuing tax receipts directly through the food bank. This has been a 10 month journey that has been brought to fruition at last through the skilful guidance of our lawyer Nathalie Tinti at Barriston Law in Bracebridge. We thank her and her staff for their diligence in helping us to achieve this.
The annual meeting approved our first budget and appointed our accountant, Richard Onley C.A. of Bracebridge. We also officially elected our first Board of Directors for a 1 year term of office. This completes the legalities of incorporation, and being recognized as a charitable business. We can now focus on dreams for the future and providing additional services to our community. We look forward to 2016 as a year of consolidation and growth.View Article