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Family centre needs support

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Since March, the Family Drop In Centre at 272 Scott St. has provided friendship, clothing, food, and quality conversation to members of the community who may be struggling.

But the centre, which is run by volunteers, will be shut down by the end of February if it does not receive more funding from the community.

“When we hit that year mark, our reserve is pretty much going to be used up,” said Monica Sus.

“In order for us to carry on, we really need some donations,” she stressed.

“I think a lot of people always forget the rent part," Sus noted. "It's great to donate clothes and donate food, but we cannot go on if we do not have a roof over our head.”

The centre relies solely on the money made from the clothing and other items it sells.

“We are not affiliated with any agency whatsoever so it's really the people of Fort Frances that are keeping us going,” Sus remarked.

Even though money has been an issue for the new centre, it has been very fortunate in the level of support it receives from the community in terms of donations of clothing, food, and other items.

Whenever Sus puts a call out for something on Facebook, people generally are quick to respond, she noted.

“We've been really fortunate with the donations that we've gotten,” Sus said.

The centre acts as an emergency food and clothing bank for those who are hungry or without adequate clothing for the winter.

As well, if somebody has just moved into a new apartment or accommodation, and is struggling financially, the centre can help them get some bedding, dishes, locate used furniture, and begin a fresh start.

The goal of the centre is to make sure everyone in the community has a place to go to when they need help.

Volunteers there can advocate for individuals who need to access services like Children's Aid, Ontario Works, or other government programs.

While the centre wants to make sure everyone is on track to living their best life, its main focus is on addressing the immediate concerns of those in need.

“When someone's hungry right now or when someone's outside and they don't have a jacket, then we help that individual,” Sus explained.

“We try and fix whatever the main problem is right now.”

The centre also holds a soup-and-sandwich night from 4-6 p.m. each Thursday, where individuals can receive a hot meal free of charge.

The purpose of these weekly dinners is not only to make sure everyone is fed but also to connect the locals with one another.

“We really want people to benefit from the companionship along with the food,” Sus enthused.

“It's all about having more people to talk to, and more people in your life to create more happiness.”

In the future, the centre would like to begin offering a parenting program. It also is planning Christmas-related events for the month of December.

The centre currently has four volunteers but it always is looking for more helping hands.

“If people are worried about homelessness and helping the homeless, if they want something that they can do about that right now, this is it,” Sus urged.

Those who would like to know more about volunteering can contact Sus at 271-2839.

She also is encouraging anyone in the community who is curious to learn more about the centre to stop by.

“Just drop in, ask us questions, and see what we're all about,” Sus said.

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