Water to the soup

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There are currently two major fundraising campaigns underway that almost all residents of North Dundas and North Grenville have surely heard about by now. In North Grenville, there is a huge effort underway to raise funds to add a much-needed CT Scanner to the Kemptville District Hospital. In North Dundas, a campaign that has gone on for many months to raise funds for the new Dundas Manor is reaching more milestones each passing week, with construction now set to begin.

It’s unbelievable to see how well-supported these campaigns have been. It’s astounding in the best way. It’s heartwarming and speaks to the strength of our communities. It shows such a commitment to helping each other, which is a small town value we must never fail to be proud of. 

Don’t just take my word for it. Let me point out some of the generosity that has been shown in the past few months, starting with Dundas Manor. In July, campaigning got underway for the Grand Parade fundraiser that saw hundreds of people – including members of Council – raising money for the Dundas Manor in September. Many local businesses also stepped up to show support. The result was over $100,000 in funds raised. 

Just last week, on November 18, Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners played host to the Sapphires and Snowflakes event, with ticket sales supporting the new Dundas Manor.

It took only two months for the fundraising meter to hit $700,000 after the public fundraising campaign for the new Dundas Manor was launched. This amount is just a small part of the approximately $12 million that has been raised by the community in total. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees what an absolutely massive sum of money that is for a small community to raise. The Winchester Lions Club was able to provide a $10,000 donation, and pledged $10,000 more. The Morrisburg and District Lions Club managed to come up with a $20,000 donation as well, and the Mountain and District Lions Club has now pledged a $40,000 donation. 

These examples (and I’m sure there are some I’ve missed) only pertain to the new Dundas Manor. They don’t include the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for other Winchester District Memorial Hospital Foundation causes, such as the general equipment fund, the cancer care fund, and the birthing unit. I’m glad to say that an exhaustive list would likely occupy two editorials and leave no room for my commentary.

Next, let’s take a quick snapshot of the KDH’s CT Scanner campaign. Again, I can’t hope to capture every fundraising initiative that has been undertaken over the course of several months, but I can happily provide examples. The Camaro raffle is one – the exciting fundraiser brought in about $200,000 for the CT Scanner. Another example is a recent $10,750 donation to the campaign from the Holmes Memorial Golf Tournament, and a $3,180 donation from the eQuinelle Men’s Golf League. An eQuinelle fashion show raised a further $20,000. 

Royal Lepage ran a fundraising event for the CT Scanner, and JAM Productions and Blackwind partnered to make a fundraising CD in support of the campaign. In a recent conversation with Chris Morgan about the Kemptville Male Choir’s upcoming Christmas concert, he mentioned that a collection plate will be passed around during the concert to raise funds for the CT Scanner. It’s very inspiring to see how residents of our communities can whole-heartedly get behind causes that are important.

Something that we must keep in mind: These are community dollars. Fundraising money is money that comes from the pockets of those who live here. The non-profit organizations and community volunteers give their time and their organizational expertise, and the community provides the funds. Someone who is better than me at math ought to run some calculations and see how much has been raised by each household or resident on average in these fundraising campaigns. 

What has happened and continues to happen with the unwavering support for these worthy causes would be heartwarming even in the best of economic times. However, these times are anything but. Inflation is high, groceries and gas are expensive, housing is so pricey that it is scarcely attainable for many people, and it’s a struggle for many just to get by. And yet here we are, raising massive amounts of money for worthy causes, just because that’s who we are. 

In trying to think of why people are willing to part with their money, even in these challenging times, my mind jumped to its usual assortment of phrases and analogies that could help to summarize what is going on. The first one that I came up with was that small town people are always eager to give the “shirt off their back”, but it doesn’t quite fit. Giving the shirt off one’s back suggests giving the last of what a person has, and that is not what’s happening here. 

In university, I had a very quirky psychology professor who – in discussing his upbringing to prove a point about nature vs nurture – told us that he was raised in a stereotypical small town atmosphere. Hospitality was king in their household, and generosity was not viewed as an option, but a necessity. They didn’t have much money, but nevertheless, they would never let others go without if they had the option to share. I’ll never forget the phrase my professor used – “we can always add water to the soup”. In other words, we may not have money to buy extra ingredients, but if everyone takes just a little less, more people can share in the meal. With these recent fundraising campaigns, it shows that even though people are increasingly tapped out for money lately, there is always something left to give. 

Clearly, we have much to be proud of. In tough times, North Grenville and North Dundas residents have supported causes that mattered, and demonstrated what tight knit, caring communities look like. Bravo to us. We deserve to hold our heads a little higher while we reap the future benefits of our community spirit and collective generosity. 

 

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