Since 1910, Good­fel­lows has served those in need

Windsor Star - - CHRISTMAS 2017 WINDSOR STAR - JEFF THACHUK, pres­i­dent, Wind­sor Good­fel­lows

For those who are un­aware, this year we lost our faith­ful man­ager, Colleen Re­naud. Colleen had been the beat­ing heart of the Good­fel­lows or­ga­ni­za­tion for 46 years pri­mar­ily as gen­eral man­ager. She is greatly missed by Good­fel­lows and the many peo­ple she helped through­out her time with us.

While Colleen was re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal treat­ment, her daugh­ter Shan­non kept the club run­ning very ef­fi­ciently in her mother’s place. Shan­non has now re­turned to her full-time po­si­tion with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. We can­not thank Shan­non enough for her ser­vice dur­ing this time and we wish her great suc­cess in her fu­ture.

On an­other sad note, ded­i­cated vol­un­teer of 40 years – 15 years as a board mem­ber – Fred Martin passed away in 2016. Fred cre­ated “The Spirit of Christ­mas” which gen­er­ated over $300,000 for Wind­sor Good­fel­lows’ clients. Fred was a gen­er­ous man in his heart and as it turns out fi­nan­cially to us when he do­nated a large sum through his es­tate. Clearly Fred, al­though gone, re­mains with Good­fel­lows in spirit with the im­pact he has on all of us!

I was re­cently sur­prised and dis­mayed to read that Wind­sor had the high­est rate of poverty in Canada as mea­sured by the num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing in low-in­come house­holds in 2015. It is very in­ter­est­ing, to say the least, that Wind­sor Good­fel­lows was formed in 1910 to ad­dress poverty in this area so no child nor fam­ily would go hun­gry and the need for our ser­vices has not di­min­ished.

Con­sider this: There is a new pro­gram, de­signed to help food bank users rise out of poverty, be­ing im­ple­mented at the North York Har­vest Food Bank. The pro­gram trains new­com­ers and peo­ple on so­cial as­sis­tance in a range of hands-on skills us­ing ma­te­ri­als avail­able at the food bank. Par­tic­i­pants learn about load­ing and un­load­ing trucks, ship­ping and re­ceiv­ing, man­ag­ing pa­per­work and in­ven­tory as well as skills like adapt­abil­ity, de­ci­sion mak­ing and han­dling change. The pro­gram is meant to build con­fi­dence in the par­tic­i­pants and en­hance their abil­ity to en­ter the work­force. If we truly want to break the cy­cle of poverty, we also need to con­sider what can be done to bet­ter en­able peo­ple to se­cure mean­ing­ful work op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Wind­sor-Es­sex Re­gion.

In sup­port of chil­dren and fam­i­lies, we re­cently part­nered with Maple City Bak­ery in Chatham to pur­chase bread in order to add this to the list of our food of­fer­ings. We also worked with Zehrs-Wind­sor to add soap and tooth­paste to the list of per­sonal care items. We are proud to be able to now of­fer a wider range of goods to the needy in our com­mu­ni­ties.

We are very for­tu­nate to be able to pro­vide last­ing sup­port to Wind­sor-Es­sex through the fol­low­ing: • year-round food bank • Christ­mas food dis­tri­bu­tion • chil­dren’s shoes and boot pro­gram, and • school break­fast pro­gram. Our Char­ity Golf Clas­sic was a suc­cess, sup­ported once again by Fam­i­lies First’s Brian and Mary Lynn Par­ent. Over $30,000 was raised from this event! Their gen­eros­ity has been fur­thered by their sup­port of our com­put­ers and break­fast pro­grams for schools.

It should be men­tioned that the provin­cial gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing char­i­ties to con­sider con­sol­i­da­tion where it makes sense. Pool­ing re­sources, us­ing a com­mon ad­min­is­tra­tion group and per­haps shar­ing the same fa­cil­i­ties can help to cut costs thereby en­abling im­proved ef­fi­ciency of do­na­tion dol­lars. Again, we have to all work to­gether to see where these op­por­tu­ni­ties may lie. Lead­ing the way with this type of ef­fort, the Toronto and York Re­gion United Way groups joined to­gether and are work­ing on de­vel­op­ing fur­ther sup­port for their col­lec­tive re­gions.

Rec­og­niz­ing that Wind­sor Good­fel­lows is just one of many groups supporting the less for­tu­nate in this area, it comes as good news to learn that the United Way Wind­sor-Es­sex County have a fundrais­ing goal to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to chil­dren at the poverty level through var­i­ous pro­grams. These pro­grams will pro­vide tu­tor­ing, men­tor­ing, vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and ways to raise money for post­sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion. I con­cur with United Way Wind­sor-Es­sex CEO Lor­raine God­dard that donors want to see ev­i­dence that their do­na­tion is be­ing used ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. Our own board of di­rec­tors leads all of us in this re­gard through fi­nan­cially re­spon­si­ble lead­er­ship and through the dis­tri­bu­tion of brochures in all our ap­peals let­ters.

As Wind­sor Good­fel­lows pre­pare for the 2017 Hol­i­day Sea­son, I must thank all the past and present hard-work­ing vol­un­teers who have sup­ported and con­tinue to sup­port the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, I want to ex­tend a heart­felt thank you to our many cit­i­zens, lo­cal busi­nesses and in­sti­tu­tions from Wind­sor, LaSalle and Te­cum­seh. We es­pe­cially thank St. Clair Col­lege for their years of sup­port.

Of course, a long­stand­ing, strong sup­porter of Good­fel­lows is the Wind­sor Star. They have sup­ported us in many ways but most no­tably by pro­vid­ing us with the printed Old News­boys Pa­per. Good­fel­lows truly ap­pre­ci­ates the many years of past sup­port and we look for­ward to many more.

To en­able all peo­ple in need to ac­cess our ser­vices, Good­fel­lows has a wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble entrance with au­to­mated doors and hand­i­cap park­ing spa­ces. Dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son peak pe­ri­ods, we have gar­nered sup­port from Wind­sor Park­ing En­force­ment for both per­sons pick­ing up boxes and our vol­un­teers.

The Wind­sor Good­fel­lows club wishes every­one in our com­mu­nity a won­der­ful 2017 Hol­i­day Sea­son and a pros­per­ous new year!

Jeff Thachuk

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