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Optimist Clubs donate $25,000 to new women’s shelter

The day after the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, six members of the Conestogo-Winterbourne and Waterloo North Optimist Club presented a cheque for $25,000 to the brand-new Anselma House in Kitchener.

The day before, more than 100 people attended the opening of the $8.4-million shelter for battered and abused women and their kids, located in the Stanley Park neighbourhood.

“It’s actually quite a great feeling. Especially going there and seeing what we’re part of,” said Optimist member Pete Dietrich. “It was such a huge project, and to me it just feels great to be a part of it.”

One hundred per cent of the funds donated last week were raised in Elmira back on Nov. 27 as part of the Optimists’ tenth annual Charity Challenge hockey tournament at the Woolwich Memorial Centre. Twenty teams competed that day not for a trophy or medal, but for the chance to help a great cause.

“There were a number of charities, and this one just hit us because they needed the money and they needed it now, and it fit with what ours goal are, which is youth in the community,” said Dietrich of why they chose Anselma House.

DOING THEIR PART Jane Ryan (centre) executive assistant at Anselma House, with Bob Hilton (left), Allan Balfour, Brad Nickel, Pete Dietrich, John Meredith and Don Blain in the youth room which their $25,000 donation funded in the new facility on Heritage Road in Kitchener.

The money will be used to fund a youth room in the new 45-bed shelter, located at 700 Heritage Drive, which is four times larger than the old Anselma House and also includes private family rooms, bedrooms and an outdoor courtyard and playground.

“The younger kids are just going to love that room, and to me that’s a great thing,” said Dietrich.

The federal and provincial governments contributed a total of $5.7 million, with the rest coming from donors and fundraisers.

Even though this was the tenth year for the tournament, it was the first time the Optimist Club really got engaged in finding corporate sponsors, and it was the first time they had a focused charity. Dietrich said that the fundraising for a specific charity really helped to gain more support for the cause.

“It’s a motivator for people who are collecting the money, and there are so many causes out there these days when you’re going out can say ‘this money is not only going to the Optimists it’s going to Anselma House’ it gets people to open up the purse strings a little bit more.”

The group had hoped to raise more than $40,000, but fell slightly short of their fundraising goals. Planning is already underway for next year’s Charity Challenge, though no decisions have been made on how the funds will be used or where they might go. It is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 26 at the WMC.

For more information or to register a team, contact Pete Dietrich at 519-664-3231 or email pete_dietrich@rogers.com.

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