A number of local charities were some $15,000 richer Tuesday night as the Wellesley and District Lions Club distributed the proceedings of their various December fundraising initiatives.
Lion chief Susan Reid handed out nearly $15,000 to local families in need, as well as Meals on Wheels, the Wellesley Family Outreach Program and the Wellesley Habitat for Humanity build during a gathering at Schmidtsville Restaurant in Wellesley Village.
“There was a time when the Lions had very little money, and every time somebody would come up for a request we had to scrimp and save and decide who we could help and who we couldn’t help. Things have been much more successful in the last few years and we have done really, really well, even at Christmastime,” said Reid. “We normally give our needy families in town some help for Christmas. This year, because of the money we had in the bank, we gave away $2,200 to the needy families in town, and that was a really good feeling. Between that and what we gave away tonight, we have given out over $15,000 over the past month.
“All of you Lions can be very proud of yourselves.”
Money was raised from the lighting of the Tree of Light, donations from local businesses and collections during the month of December.
Among repeat organizations receiving donations was Community Care Concepts, towards the Meals on Wheels in Wellesley, and the House of Friendship, for the Wellesley Family Outreach Program.
Cathy Harrington, from CCC was there to receive $4,000.
“I just want to extend our heartfelt thanks for your financial contribution. Iit is so important to allow us to be able to do what we do and I want to thank you for the wonderful service that you do in the community. I know many, many folks see it and it is truly, truly appreciated,” said Harrington.
Over the past year, Meals on Wheels in Wellesley delivered some 2,500 hot meals, and provided nearly 1,300 meals in community dining. The program provides local seniors’ meals weekdays at lunch, while also providing social contact and a necessary safety check.
Sue Martin from House of Friendship also received a cheque for $4,000.
A community-based initiative, the Family Outreach Program was created to prevent and reduce child poverty in Waterloo Region. In Wellesley, they work with low-income families with children to help connect them with local services and anything else they may need, said Martin, noting she can be reached by any family in need or by those who know a family that could use some help.
Habitat for Humanity was a first-time recipient. The group built its first home in Wellesley Township last year.
Jerry Lawlor, vice-president, development for Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, was there to receive the cheque.
Their first build in the township has gone smoothly thus far, Lawlor explained, adding that new residents would be moving into the home on the Easter long weekend.
As the only remaining service club in the area, the Wellesley and District Lions Club works to serve the community. Heading into 2018, they say they will be looking for new projects to invest their time and fundraising efforts towards.