The generosity of local residents certainly was front and centre once again over the weekend.
On Friday night, about 80 people came out to the 200 block of Scott Street to spend the night on the sidewalk as part in the inaugural “Longest Night of the Year” sleep-out event. Organized by the Fort Frances Homelessness Committee, it's aim was to raise both awareness about the issue of homelessness here in Rainy River District and funds to help establish a pop-up shelter at the Apostolic Way church on Victoria Avenue for three nights a week during the winter months.
In the end, more than $16,000 was raised in pledges—with more still coming in.
Then on Saturday during its annual fall tea at the New Beginnings Fellowship, the La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary presented a cheque for $65,000 for the purchase of a sterile processing washer/disinfector at the hospital here.
Considering it came on the heels of previous donations of $30,000 towards a tub and lift in 2016-17 and then $22,000 in 2017-18 for the purchase of other much-needed items, it's was an amazing amount that certainly reflects not only the countless hours of dedication by auxiliary members themselves but also the generosity of residents who support the group's various fundraisers throughout the year, including the “Strawberry Social," "Spirit of Christmas," and "Rockin' for a Reason,” as well as money raised through raffles, the hospital gift shop, and vending machines.
With government funding tightening up, it falls on volunteer groups and committees like these, and others such as the “Friends of the Museum," "Friends of the Library,” and the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, to pick up the slack when it comes to covering the shortfall to support various initiatives and facilities so crucial to our quality of life here.
Fortunately, our community is blessed with stalwart volunteers to take on the task—and residents who dig into their wallets time after time to support the cause.
It's something we should be truly grateful for—and must never take for granted.