A Pride event planned for Elmira next June won financial support from Woolwich this week. A grant of $1,775 was approved as councillors heard from others requesting funding from the township’s 2023 budget.
Pre-budget approval was given to the Woolwich Pride committee to allow for some certainty as organizers put together the first event. Some $100,000 in requests from a host of organizations will be decided on during the budget process that picks up in earnest next month.
Standard funding requests for the likes of Woolwich Community Services, Community Care Concepts and Woolwich Counselling Centre are joined in the 2023 mix by new applications from the Elmira Homecoming 100th Anniversary Committee ($5,000), Food4Kids Waterloo Region ($25,000), Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario ($4,000) and the Woolwich Pride Committee.
Councillors meeting Monday night heard directly from the Pride organizers, who made their case for funding the event, which is scheduled for June 17 at Gibson Park in Elmira.
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“It’s about providing a safe and affirming place for our children to grow and flourish, and feel they’re supported and cared for. It’s to provide them with role-modelling, as adults that actively work to include others that may be different from you and not to malign them,” said committee member Shari DeCaire, an Elmira resident.
“It’s to provide visibility to both our LGBTQ+ youth and others to show that there’s strength in our diversity and a place at our table for everyone.”
The bid won unanimous support from council.
“I think this is a wonderful event,” said Coun. Kayla Grant. “I look forward to celebrating Pride in Woolwich this year.”
“I would think the council could get behind supporting something like this given some of the history around some of these discussions. It’s the appropriate thing to do,” added Coun. Nathan Cadeau in backing the pre-budget request.
Along with the $1,775 grant, the township will be providing some in-kind support for the event, including staff resources and promotional space on the website, noted Woolwich clerk Jeff Smith.
Council also heard from Food4Kids Waterloo Region executive director Lorri Detta. The organization is making a first-time request for funding in the amount of $25,000.
Food4Kids addresses food insecurity for children reliant on school food programs during times when they’re not in school, including weekends and holidays. Some 3,000 children in the region suffer from severe hunger, she said, noting the group currently has the resources to help about a third of those kids.
In Woolwich, the number of children with food insecurity sits at about 290, with Food4Kids estimating 25 to 50 fall into the kind of need that the organization serves. Detta noted just eight are currently receiving help due to a lack of funding.
Annual food costs are about $1,000 per child, with volunteers looking after the collecting, sorting and delivering of food to the children. The $25,000 grant request would cover off 25 kids in the township.
“We provide critical food packages directly to kids who have been identified as being at risk or experiencing chronic hunger,” said Detta, noting Food4Kids is currently feeding 1,050 kids, ages 1 to 14, in 65 schools in the region.
The group’s request will be part of the mix in the 2023 budget deliberations. In 2022, the township allocated $85,494.