Li­on­ess host­ing Alzheimer Cof­fee Break

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS AB­BOTT

The Till­son­burg Li­on­ess Club is invit­ing the com­mu­nity for a cup of cof­fee on Thurs­day, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

Hosted by Nancy Lester and Indira Reynolds, the Li­on­ess will be host­ing their an­nual Alzheimer Cof­fee Break to raise funds for the Alzheimer So­ci­ety of Ox­ford.

“It’s a Li­on­ess project and we have it at her (Reynolds) place,” said Lester, who can be con­tacted at lar­nan@rogers.com or 519-8425404 for more in­for­ma­tion.

“When we started it, we had it at a church,” said Lester. “Then Indira and I de­cided to host it Indira’s home. We started out bak­ing a lot we had lots of good­ies but we found we had so much left over. Over the years, we found just cof­fee, tea - or maybe a cold drink if it’s like it was last week. And maybe a few good­ies. It’s more about the cause, and vis­it­ing, than the food.”

“Keep it sim­ple,” nod­ded Shel­ley Green, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Alzheimer So­ci­ety of Ox­ford (shel­ley@alzheimer.ox­ford.on.ca).

“that’s what we tell any­one who wants to host a cof­fee break.”

“you don’t have to bake up a storm,” lester agreed.

“re­ally, cof­fee break is a so­cial... with a cause,” said green. “it’s an ex­cuse to get to­gether, and cof­fee break hosts are re­ally giv­ing their guests an op­por­tu­nity to give. some­times peo­ple may be in­ter­ested in giv­ing, but if it’s not made con­ve­nient they might not think about it. Or some­times peo­ple just need to be re­minded of the need - and that’s what cof­fee break’s all about.”

the li­on­ess typ­i­cally have about 20-30 guests, and have raised al­most $4,000 since 2013, but cof­fee breaks can vary in size. it’s okay to have a cof­fee break for just a few friends, said green.

“the li­on­ess have had a very suc­cess­ful fundraiser, fi­nan­cially, but we want peo­ple to know - all amounts add up. so even if some­one’s hav­ing it in their home, and they have just a few friends over, all of that money adds up and it helps to raise aware­ness. it can be small groups, it can be larger groups - and we’re very thank­ful for all. and you never know, some­one who at­tends a cof­fee break might de­cide to call the alzheimer so­ci­ety.”

“it’s about let­ting the peo­ple you know be aware of it,” said lester, not­ing she uses so­cial me­dia to help pro­mote the till­son­burg li­onesshosted event.

“cof­fee breaks can hap­pen any time in the fall,” green noted. “Our cam­paign runs in the fall and we try to wrap it up the end of novem­ber. so when­ever peo­ple can fit this into their lives, it works for us.”

the­cof­fee­break­fundraiser,which was ini­ti­ated on a na­tional level more than 20 years ago, raised just over $32,000 in Ox­ford last year.

“the money stays here,” said green, “and i know peo­ple re­ally like to know that. We use it to sup­port the pro­grams and ser­vices that we of­fer here in Ox­ford county.”

busi­nesses can also sup­port cof­fee break by sup­ply­ing de­cals, which en­cour­age cus­tomers to make a $2 do­na­tion to the alzheimer so­ci­ety of Ox­ford.

“Or they can have cof­fee breaks right in their place of busi­ness,” green noted. “so cof­fee breaks can take place any where, any time that peo­ple gather. it’s re­ally sim­ple.

“and if some­one is think­ing about host­ing a cof­fee break, but they don’t want to do it alone, this is a great op­por­tu­nity to ask a friend, or a cou­ple of friends. Maybe one friend will host it at their home, an­other friend does the bak­ing, and an­other friend helps in a dif­fer­ent way. you can do this as a col­lec­tive ef­fort, which can be a lot of fun.

“peo­ple can use their imag­i­na­tions, they can get re­ally creative,” said green, re­call­ing hosts who have a Hal­loween theme, “or they can keep it re­ally, re­ally sim­ple. that’s what i like about it, be­cause it opens up an op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one to be in­volved, if they choose to be.”

alzheimer’s has af­fected both lester and reynolds’ fam­i­lies, said lester, who ap­pre­ci­ated the struc­tured as­sis­tance from trained fam­ily sup­port work­ers in a sup­port group, and at­tended an ed­u­ca­tion se­ries three years ago.

“My mother had alzheimers and i be­lieve indira’s did too. it was very help­ful.”

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