Thursday, December 24, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 12.25.2015

From the CEO's Desk

It struck me as harsh the Christmas my father suggested we five children - all of us advanced beyond childhood at that point - think about establishing our own seasonal traditions. Having never imposed on my parents for a push from the nest, being offered one at Christmas was well, unsettling. 

Living in Kingston for almost 20 years, my holiday tradition evolved around busking in the downtown core in the lead up to Christmas. Even in my hands, a flugelhorn is a beautiful instrument for open-air Christmas carols. The local food bank provided a festive sign to prop up in my open horn case, and my annual fundraising campaign became a soothing balm to the passing consumer frenzy. 

"We heard the horn," friends would say they stopped by. "We knew it was you." The roving Victorian Caroler Quartette, another downtown tradition, would also stop by, adding heavenly four-part vocal harmony to the horn. 

I'd watch as little kids were initiated into the practice of dropping money into the music case of an oddly behaving stranger. The person who'd say, "I'll get you on the way back," almost always would. And only occasionally, would a complete stranger, evidently as judgmental as I, dismiss me as street trash. 

Mini dramas would play out all afternoon long: The suited business man who clearly doesn't want to be seen leaving the $50 bill he just left; The indigent woman who carefully sets aside exact bus fare before triumphantly donating every penny of her remaining $1.35; the hand that pushes $20 directly into my jacket pocket with the admonishment, "Get yourself a hot meal." 

Out of necessity, I set aside my busking tradition this year. Instead, I find myself welcoming the prospect of a new tradition emerging - one centred in the wonderful HFHOGN community in which I find myself. Not for the first time, I give thanks to my father - departed now, like the Christmases of my childhood - for teaching me to relish, not hoard, tradition. 

Best wishes to you, your families and your loved ones for a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

Have a great couple of weeks, 

In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* Year In Review
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Our ReStores will be closed on Christmas Day (December 25th), Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year's Day (January 1st). All other days are regular hours. Wishing everyone joy and good cheer for the holidays!
* Habitat Canada has launched the Brick for Brick Campaign. 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the campaign
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletter here!
Note: In the spirit of the holidays, we're taking a week off from our weekly newsletter! Look for our next issue (and some exciting news!) on January 8, 2016.
Happy Christmas Habitat Gateway North!

I thought this would be the time to share a few photos of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North's Year in Review. We've had a great 2015 and we can't wait to see what 2016 brings!

Marty Scarlett and his class from St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School helped paint at our Gravenhurst 2015 build.

Home dedications are always full of smiles! The Kennys and the Hudsons were thrilled to join the Habitat family in March 2015 and move into their homes in Gravenhurst.

Our ReStores in Midland, Orillia, Bracebridge, Huntsville and Sudbury had some great donations from all across our region in 2015! Thank you to all of our donors, shoppers and volunteers for supporting ReStore.

Our Parry Sound District Chapter held their 4th Annual Golf Tournament at Rocky Crest Golf Club and raised over $18,000.

Our 2nd Annual Biking for Builds Fall Ride took off (with great weather!) on the last Sunday of September. The event raised over $10,000 to help build homes.

An RBC team helped out on our Feronia Build in 2015.

Dave Wright, President of Maacon Construction Ltd in Penetanguishene sponsored a golf tournament for HFHOGN North Simcoe Chapter in September 2015. The trounament raised $9,000 to support Habitat build projects.

Winter King, Josh Smith and their two children received keys to their home in Penetanguishene in November 2015.

Jennifer and Ryan Bernas and their four children joined the Habitat family officially in November 2015. Their home was doanted to Habitat by Walter and Maria Schneider and was renovated during the year.

The Humble House in Feronia was dedicated in November 2015. Crystal Daly and her four children were excited to have a new home for Christmas.

Karen Acton, Muskoka real estate agent, donated $10,000 in November 2015, bringing her total donation to $85,000. Thank you Karen for all of your support!

Our Sudbury District Chapter broke ground on a semi-detached in Espanola on the last weekend of November 2015.

Alfred Nikolai, President and CEO of HFH Edmonton, joined us in December to share Habitat Edmonton's stories and wisdom.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Quote of the Week

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”  - Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
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