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EDCL auction raises $77,000

A pioneering assisted living project launched by Elmira District Community Living received a $65,000 boost from the proceeds of last weekend’s quilt auction.

More than 130 pieces, including quilts, wall hangings and hooked rugs were auctioned off, bringing in a total of $77,000. After expenses are deducted, the net profit should be about $5,000 more than last year’s total.

The money raised at this year’s auction will go toward the new apartment building EDCL is building on Snowgoose Crescent that will house four adults in separate apartments.

“What’s unique about this project is that some of the supports will be provided by live-in students,” said Greg Bechard, the organization’s executive director.

The association has partnered with the faculty of social work at Renison University College. In exchange for live-in support for the agency’s clients, the students will receive scholarships, free accommodation and summer employment.

“There is nothing else like it in the province of Ontario,” Bechard said.

The agency supports people with developmental disabilities, and helps more than 100 individuals and their families in Woolwich, Wellesley and Mapleton townships.

The Snowgoose Crescent project has been in the works for four years, with shovels hitting the ground three weeks ago. Residence selection will happen through the winter and spring, and the tenants and students will move in next September.

The $1.2-million cost of the building is being raised by the association, with $400,000 left to go. The building is not funded by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

“Not all the costs of the services we provide and supports we provide are funded, like vehicles, maintenance to our buildings and even some of the buildings we built,” Bechard said. “We have more than $3 million worth of properties that have been built with no government funding.”

The quilt auction, now in its 36th year, is the association’s major fundraiser. Quilts are donated by the community, with strong support from Mennonites and local sewing groups. Many of them are hand sewn.

Elaine Gostick of Guelph was one of a number of people who commented on the quality of the pieces at the Oct. 31 auction.

“There are lots of beautiful quilts; it’s exceptional this year,” she said, adding she had her eye on several items to bid on.

“When you look at everybody that contributes, it’s in the hundreds of people that participate,” Bechard said, adding a special thanks to the staff at Riverdale Poultry Express, who have provided space for the auction for the past few years.

Attendance at the auction rebounded after a drop in last year’s numbers. Along with the quilts, people can bid on silent auction items including new and vintage furniture and gift certificates, and purchase baking, canning and garden produce.

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