By Britney Pagliuca
The holiday season is fast approaching, and while many of spend this time with our friends or family and purchasing gifts to put under the tree, for others this is simply not an option. For those individuals, the holiday season can be especially challenging.
According to the HKPR District Health Unit’s 2019 statistics, Haliburton County has a child poverty rate of 23 per cent and an overall poverty rate of 17 per cent. Many people in this community are forced to concentrate their wages on the cost of fuel and utilities, and struggle to afford food and other basic needs. For many, gifts and holiday feasts are simply out of the question.
People in our community – the friendly faces we see around town and the people we call our neighbours – are in need. Here are some small ways we can help.
The Great South Lake Pyjama Project
A new charity drive is taking place in Haliburton County. Organized by three families from South Lake with the help of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, its aim is to provide new pyjamas to all those in need. “Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep,” organizer Joy Webster said, “And a new pair of cozy, comfortable pyjamas can help.”
Webster and other volunteers will be collecting donated pyjamas year-round and distributing them to families or individuals in need. “We will be working on this project 365 days of the year,” Webster said. All items will be donated to members of the Haliburton community.
There is a drop off location at South Lake (specific location available upon request at 705-796-8265), as well as St. Paul’s Anglican Church Thrift Store in Minden. Webster also stated that the non-profit group is in search of a space in Haliburton that can be used as a third drop-off location.
Organizers ask that donated pyjamas are new with tags. Webster also noted that it is important to consider the county’s demographic when selecting items to be donated. She said, “While all sizes and age-appropriate pyjamas are appreciated, we should take into consideration the fact that majority of the county’s population is over the age of 50.”
Haliburton County Food Banks
According to Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank & Lily Ann, donations to the county’s food banks typically start to decline in the fall, despite a continued and critical need. While many of us pack on a few pounds during the holidays, others lack the affordability to access sufficient nutrition year-round.
“Research shows that people who do not have enough food to eat get sick more often,” Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank states, “To ensure that you are helping in the best possible way, please consider donating healthy food choices.” Their website contains a comprehensive list of food items that are most appreciated. They also accept financial donations to use towards purchasing perishable foods like meat, dairy, eggs and fresh produce. Cardiff and Highlands East Food Banks accept perishable items.
Drop-off locations throughout the county include Minden Community Food Centre (24 Newcastle Street, Minden), Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank (26 York Street, Haliburton),Highlands East Food Hub (2249 Loop Road, Wilberforce), Cardiff Food Bank (2278 Monck Road, Cardiff) and Kinmount Food Bank (4937 Monck Road Baptist Church, Kinmount).
More ways to help.
The SIRCH Community Kitchen prepares and distributes free nutritious meals to those in need once a week. Financial donations can help them continue to do so.
Clothing donations can be brought to thrift stores throughout the county, including SIRCH Thrift Warehouse and Haliburton 4Cs Lily Ann. Warm clothes like jackets, gloves, hats and scarves are especially appreciated.
Heat Bank Haliburton County offers small grants to help overcome home heating emergencies and can provide firewood to those in need. They also aid in the process of navigating government supports such as hydro credits for low-income homes. They accept financial and firewood donations.
Every bit of help matters.