Wesley Christmas Stores

December 2009 saw SI-DAF donating $600 of gifts to the Wesley Christmas Store in Hamilton.

The ‘Store’ is set up over the Christmas period for those members of our community who are not fortunate enough financially to be able to buy gifts for their loved ones. The ‘Store’ is made up of two sections, one for gifts and one for food and is managed, in the main, by volunteers, many of whom come back year after year to help make sure everything runs smoothly and that the ’customers’, young and old, male and female, are given a warm welcome.

One visit to the setting up phase of this ‘Store’ brings it home to you just how fortunate the majority of us are. Find out how you can get involved »

Annual Awards – request for assistance

We are requesting the help of the community to help share this opportunity:

Women’s Opportunity Award applicants are women, who as head of their household, have returned to school or a training program to improve their working status to assist their family. Download our Women’s Opportunity Award flyer »

Violet Richardson Award applicants are girls between the age of 14-17 years old who volunteer in their community. Download our Violet Richardson Award flyer »

These are our signature programs and we really need to be able to recognize and reward wonderful women who are making a difference in our community, so please assist us in encouraging these women to apply.

Thank you so much.

If I had $1,000

When the Waterdown Rotary Club offered ‘grants’ to local individuals or service clubs with interesting ideas of how they could put a sum of money to work, Sandy at SI-DAF jumped at the opportunity to receive a portion of this funding. We were all the more grateful when they announced us as one of the winners!

Our plan is to use the funding to help women who are moving on after their stay at Drummond House in Flamborough (a local organization offering temporary housing with practical assistance and compassionate care) by providing them with a little extra financial assistance in their next step of their personal independence. The club’s goal is to take the $500.00 granted to them by the Waterdown Rotary Club and add to it via personal contributions from not only club members, but also from people: right here in our community who also would like to help make a difference.

The goal it to first double or triple the initial amount before the club’s members will then approach local area businesses to purchase gift cards for the ladies. At that time they are hoping the merchants will further contribute to this by providing additional contributions of even more gift cards.

Centre left: Rotary Club president Wendy Hickey is seen presenting Soroptimist club treasurer Sandy Gray with big bucks representing the $500.00 contribution. The other club ladies are holding what they hope will materialize into real money to further fund this venture.
Centre left: Rotary Club president Wendy Hickey is seen presenting Soroptimist club treasurer Sandy Gray with big bucks representing the $500.00 contribution. The other club ladies are holding what they hope will materialize into real money to further fund this venture.

If you would like to contribute to this endeavour, cash or cheques (payable to SI DAF) may be dropped off at Weeks Hardware to Sandy’s attention: income tax receipts can be made available.

Congratulations to our Award Winners

SI-DAF handed out over $2,500 in bursaries at our awards dinner last Thursday, held at the Dundas Golf and Curling Club.

The Violet Richardson Award is given to honour young women age 14 -17  engaged in volunteer action within their communities or schools. This year’s award was given to a female student named Elizabeth from Parkside High in Dundas who volunteers with the Junior Civitan Club and answers letters to Santa for the Canada Post. She received $300 plus an additional $200 was donated to the Civitans.

The Women’s Opportunity Award is a grant awarded to female heads of households who need additional skills, training and education to enable them to upgrade their employment status to re-enter the workforce so they can provide adequately for themselves and their families. This is the signature award for Soroptimist International and is awarded in over 125 countries worldwide. This year’s recipient was Edith Kaggwa, a mother of four who has been accepted to the Mo-Mac nursing program.

We were also delighted to have Shirley Eden present the Making a Difference for Women Award to Debra Tigchelaar for her contribution and dedication to Drummond House in Flamborough. Our club provided $750 towards their Gala dance.

We were also delighted to honour three of our club members: Jane Oulton who is a charter member; Nancy Davidson and Shirley McCoy were honoured for their 20 years of service with our club.

Ancaster Community Services Annual Food Drive Set a Record

The Ancaster Community Services Annual Food Drive was held on Saturday Feb 21 and a total of $5000 in cash and 79,000 pounds of food was raised!

Our Soroptimist sisters were there with their shirts on and hands ready to help. Thank you to SNAP for including a picture of us!

Each aisle was divided into basic categories: vegetables, soup, dry pasta, canned pasta, pasta sauce, macaroni & cheese (aka KD), beans in sauce, fruit, juice, milk, toiletries, baby food, cookies & crackers (and desserts), cakes & pudding (and baking supplies), condiments, meats & fish. Never had any of us seen such a well organized, all-hands event!

“It is always a very humbling experience to see how a community can come together and give so generously so that the most disadvantaged in our midst can have food on their tables”, said Pauline – a member of SI-DAF and the Ancaster Lions Club.

According to a recent article, over the past five years, the cost of a monthly Nutritious Food Basket for a family of four (based on Canada’s Food Guide) has increased by 14.2%. According to the Hamilton Public Health Services report entitled ““The Cost of Basic Nutritious Food”, the average limited-income family has to choose “between eating well and paying the rent to survive.”

For more information about how you can get involved or make a donation to the Ancaster Community Services, call 905-648- 6675. Items currently in high demand include:

  • pasta
  • canned salmon and tuna
  • stews
  • soups
  • and canned vegetables

Soroptimists Invest in Hamilton’s Youth

“At least 600 of Hamilton’s Youth are street-involved or homeless”, the 2005 Addressing the Needs of Street-Involved and Homeless Youth in Hamilton report states.  Wesley Youth Housing (WYH) is working to change this with a supportive transitional housing program specially designed to transform the lives of Hamilton’s street-involved and homeless youth. They are working to decrease homelessness by investing in the lives of at-risk youth, ages 16 to 21, and working to create individual well-being, independence and housing stability.

Moved by a past guest speaker, Paul Johnson, Director of Wesley Urban Ministries, we have donated $1,500 to support their mission.

Pauline Hardcastle presents a cheque to Paul Johnson, Director of the Welsley Urban Ministries

Pauline Hardcastle presents a cheque to Paul Johnson, Director of the Welsley Urban Ministries

The money will be used to support one year of Life Coach sessions, which cost approximately $100 to run each month. The youth work one-on-one or in group sessions towards life skills such as budgeting, grocery shopping, cooking and time management.

A snapshot of a pod interior (kitchen area)

A snapshot of a pod interior (kitchen area)

The remainder of the funds will be used to assist with the turn over costs for a fully furnished, all female shared accommodation pod, located at the Main and Hess program facility. Each pod has a common kitchen and eating area, a living room and two bathrooms, plus a locking bedroom for each girl.

Youth are referred primarily by agencies; however self-referrals are accepted. If you would like to find out more about the program or how you can get involved, contact Wesley Urban Ministries at 905.527.4430, by email youth.housing@wesleyurbanministries.ca, or visiting their website at www.wesleyurbanministries.ca

Baby Showers

Thank you to the friends of SI-DAF who generously donated items to the Babyshowers group in Dundas who collect new and gently used baby and preschool items that are distributed through established community agencies in the Hamilton area.

Articles were picked up yesterday at my home by a wonderful lady, Fran Checkly, known as Mrs. Checkly to me. She was my grade 12 History teacher, one of the best teachers I had. Apparently she is a rock to this group – no surprise!

Shirley E and Fran Checkly from Babyshowers

Shirley E and Fran Checkly from Babyshowers

This donation accompanies a cheque for $1,200 towards new car seats, cribs and twin sized sheet sets. It was presented to Cathy Watts in early February by Linda, who found an article in the Spectator about Babyshowers last fall and submitted their name for consideration to the Programs of Service committee.

Babyshowers accepts donations of new and gently used clothing (newborn to size 6x), shoes, boots, bedding, diapers, formula, books, toys, cribs, stroller, highchairs and playpens. Babyshowers adheres to strict guidelines as set out by the Hazardous Products Act with respect to the safety of all donated items. Charitable receipts are provided for financial donations. Families are referred by established agencies only. For more information about how you can get involved, contact Cathy Watts at 905-627-5135 or info@babyshowers.ca.

Shirley E

Volunteer for the Ancaster Community Food Drive

The Ancaster Community Food Drive will be held on Saturday Feb. 21.

Volunteers are needed to canvass the community and sort donations at St. John’s Anglican Church (view map »). On Saturday Feb. 14, volunteers will deliver flyers to announce the food drive.

Organizers need 300 volunteers to canvass door to door or help unload cars. On Monday Feb. 23, trucks will be loaded to take the donations to seven major food servicing agencies in the Hamilton area.

Volunteers are needed from 8:30 am until noon. To register as a volunteer call Ancaster Community Services at 905-648- 6675.

SIDAF and the Ancaster Lions donate to McMaster Children’s Hospital

A very heartwarming presentation by SIDAF and Ancaster Lions Club was made Tuesday evening to Fiona Campbell of the Technology Access Clinic, McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The money donated is to assist with the outright purchase of speech generating software for a lady named Jennifer in Hamilton who is unable to speak due to a rare, degenerative condition called Central Nervous System Vasculitus; Jen has lost her ability to speak and she also uses a wheelchair, as she can no longer walk. This software is her only means of communication with the outside world and in particular with her daughter who is also challenged with developmental delay.

Fiona made a wonderful presentation, which included a short video of the lady who now has the software to keep instead of it just being leased annually. In the video it shows Jennifer typing out a message of thanks to us all and in turn her computer then spoke the words for her.

The lease on this expensive equipment expires in February, but the Provincial Government (Ministry of Health) offers an 89% subsidy on its renewal through a program called the Assisted Devices Program (ADP). That leaves a one-year lease renewal is $573.31, or alternatively the equipment could be purchased for $1,368.93. Jennifer cannot provide this money herself, because she is unable to work, and her husband is her full-time caregiver.

The Ancaster Lions Club and Soroptimist International of Dundas-Ancaster-Flamborough shared the cost of the purchase price.

Friends for Success

Most people take it for granted that they will have a job, a home and food on their plates … but times are changing. The pressure to find a job can be an overwhelming task when the underlying stress is putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head.

The YWCA Friends for Success program aims to break the cycle by helping women who find themselves facing difficult life circumstances gain the self-confidence to enter or re-enter the workforce.

If you have business-appropriate attire clothing, accessories (handbags, shoes, belts, etc.) and coats, to donate, please contact us.

Find out more information