/Heat Bank fundraiser returns to Rhubarb
Heat Bank Haliburton County co-founder and co-chairperson John Teljeur and Abbey Gardens director of operations Heather Reid share a laugh at the Heat Bank fundraiser at Rhubarb in this file photo. This year's event is Sunday Nov. 12 at Rhubarb restaurant in Carnarvon. /DARREN LUM Staff

Heat Bank fundraiser returns to Rhubarb

Rhubarb restaurant and Boshkung Brewing Company will be hosting its annual fundraiser for the Haliburton County Heat Bank on the evening of Sunday Nov. 12. The event will take place from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and guests will be treated to food wine locally crafted beer and live music by Chris Smith.

Supporters of the Heat Bank will also have a chance to get a head-start on their Christmas shopping at the silent auction which will be held both online and in person.

Now in its fourth year the fundraiser continues to grow each year since its inception said Heat Bank co-ordinator Tina Jackson. It has become the organization’s largest fundraising initiative of the year and a crucial part of their campaign to help community members in need.

“We rely completely on donations for the grants that we provide to struggling households” said Jackson.

“So what we raise at the Rhubarb fundraiser determines whether we are able to respond with a grant for the senior that can’t afford furnace oil because they are faced with high medical costs or the family who is facing a hydro disconnection because they had to pay for unexpected car repairs.”

The Heat Bank was created in the spring of 2014 in response to a county-wide need for emergency firewood after a particularly harsh winter. It has since adapted to help fulfill the needs of the community by adding support for oil propane and hydro emergencies.

Jackson explained that they are now providing support for some 230 residents each year through grants economic problem-solving benefits screening and intake and by providing a compassionate place to turn when crisis hits. She said more than half of the people they assist are either seniors or children.

By ensuring that clients are connected with all the services and programs they might be eligible for Jackson said the Heat Bank helps people overcome the hurdles they are faced with.

“Many times when people reach out for help it’s because they have found themselves in a desperate situation and are facing having their hydro disconnected or freezing temperatures in their homes” she said.

“Our goal is not just to provide a grant to help for the next few weeks but to help the household create a plan for the long term. People in Haliburton County are continuing to have to make difficult choices when it comes to rising costs for hydro food heat transportation etc. While we can’t solve poverty alone we want to help lessen the burden for the people and ensure that they have the essential services to stay warm in their homes.”

Jackson said that the number of people in Haliburton County having to choose whether to heat or eat continues to rise along with the number of people living in poverty throughout the province. With winter fast approaching she encourages anyone in need of support to reach out to the Heat Bank and find out more about the services they offer. Although asking for help can be a difficult first step for some people she said there is no reason it needs to be.

“When clients feel ashamed or embarrassed about asking for assistance we ask if they’ve ever helped a neighbour or a co-worker or a friend and let them know that the help that they provided to someone else in the community is coming back to them in their time of need. What goes around comes around.”

Tickets are $50 per person and can be reserved by calling Rhubarb and Boshkung Brewing Company at 705-489-4449. For more information about the services and supports provided by the Haliburton County Heat Bank  or to get involved or make a donation visit their website at www.heatbankhc.ca or call 705-306-0565.