Friday, February 19, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 19.02.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
Orillia Winter Carnival Polar Bear Dip

There was more than a slight chill in the air on Sunday, February 14th, but the show went on. With a high of -15, and a wind chill just slightly lower at -18, Sunday was a better day for families to come out and enjoy the carnival and all it had to offer.

The Polar Bear Dip, as part of the Orillia Winter Carnival, was a go this year despite the frosty temperature. Amongst this year's participants was David Morris, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. “It wasn't as bad as what I thought it would be,” said Morris. Habitat Gateway North is the beneficiary of all the funds raised at this year's dip.

“This is tremendous and to see the people out; it's still a cold day,” he said. “One of the young guys ahead of me was seven-years-old. (It's) wonderful to see that kind of support.”

Read more about the Orillia Winter Carinval and Polar Bear Dip.

Photos courtesy of the Orillia Winter Carnival Facebook Page and The Orillia Packet & Times
In This Issue:
* Orillia Winter Carnival Polar Bear Dip
* From the CEO's Desk
* Congratulations HFHOGN Health & Safety Committee
* Hearts for Homes Campaign a Success
* Wonderful Things Happen at ReStores
* Volunteer Spotlight
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* This weekend catch Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North volunteers at the Gravenhurst Winter Carnival for fun cookie decorating in front of the Opera House. For a full schedule, visit the Gravenhurst Winter Carnival website. Thank you to The Bakery in Gravenhurst for donating cookies and icing for the event!
* 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 newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North!

You can love your job and be passionate about what you do but somedays the office just isn't where you want to be. When you're deadline driven, sometimes it's difficult to take a step back (or a step outside the office). Sometimes, I'm not the greatest at stepping out of the office. However, on Family Day I spent a good portion of my day volunteering at the Graeme Murray Community Road Hockey Day to kick off the week-long Gravenhurst Winter Carnival. Seeing such a great group come together from the community and being part of such a fun, family event was a wonderful way to spend a day out of the office.

From left: Jeff Watson, Town of Gravenhurst Deputy Mayor, Meghan Smith, Skokie the Gravenhurst Winter Carnival Mascot, Graeme Murray and MP Tony Clement.
Photo from the Town of Gravenhurst Facebook page.

And some days, you must be in the office. Projects need to be completed, reports need to be written, emails need to be checked. There are parts of any job that require showing up and just doing it. Does that mean you can't have some fun? Of course not...

Photo: Kevin Manley

You really just never know what you'll find at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore or in the regional office! Thank you Kevin for snapping the above photo of me hard at work, with my thinking cap on (I was actually hard at work!). Work is significantly more fun and rewarding when you can have a good laugh (especially at yourself), share a story or connect with members of the community. We have an exceptionally talented team at Habitat Gateway North and I am delighted to be part of the team.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

From the CEO's Desk

A couple of notes of respect and thanks this week….

First, to the Orillia Winter Carnival Committee for a great organizational effort and a show-must-go-on determination in the face of last weekend’s blistering cold. Second, to our great Orillia Chapter members who succeeded in having HFHOGN designated as the Carnival’s beneficiary and were then out to lend a hand despite that aforementioned cold. Third, to my fellow Polar Bear Dippers for a great spirit of comradery pre- and post-dip. The group included a number of children under the age of ten who not only raised funds on our behalf, but truly had “skin in the game.” My bet is they’ll be contributing members of their community for life.

As paradoxical as it sounds, I take it as a very good sign when there’s good “stuff” going on in the organization of which I’m only vaguely aware. A few months ago, on the periphery of my attention, Hilary Kellam, our admin assistant, uncovered some boxes of red paper hearts in a back storage room. She distributed the hearts to our five ReStores with a fundraising scheme of her own design. I was flabbergasted to learn – still in passing – that Hilary declared the “Hearts for Homes” campaign closed this week with over $4,100 raised! Thanks to all of our ReStore staff for the team effort and, of course, a very special thanks to Hilary for her initiative and leadership.

Nationwide, one of Habitat’s most important partnerships is with Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Most of our ReStores have benefited at various times from the extraordinary support of work teams from our local Beaver Creek Institution (BCI). The institution’s woodworking shop has fabricated kitchens and other carpentry projects for our homes and stores. I often think my world would be a little poorer absent my working day interactions with our volunteers on work-term placements from BCI. Thanks to the many helping hands from the institution, and to CSC staffers like Bobbie McMullen and Chris Howey who not only make the partnership possible, but who took time to meet with our staff this week for a briefing and Q&A on our roles and responsibilities in the relationship.

Have a great week.

Congratulations HFHOGN Health & Safety Committee

On Friday at noon our Health & Safety Committee completed their certification and passed the test with flying colours. Congratulations Tom Dion, Stephanie Long, Brian Ingram, Emily Ratkowsky and Jessica Kozack as our fully certified Health & Safety Committee. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work throughout the certification process!
Hearts for Homes Campaign A Success

The Hearts for Homes Campaign at Habitat Gateway North ReStores ended with a bang.  Our five ReStores collectively raised $4,159.30 in 2 weeks. The Orillia ReStore decided to host an in-store draw with exciting prizes to promote the Hearts for Homes Campaign. Christina Micallef, Orillia ReStore Sales Associate, commented “our customers were excited to support their community and have the potential of winning amazing prizes from the in-store contest.  A huge thank you goes out to our prize sponsors, Sinergy Clothing, Southern Comfort Salon and Tops in Pizza.“

 All of our ReStore managers and employees agreed the Hearts for Homes Campaign was a great avenue to inform customers of how Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North serves families across our region. “We are still promoting the campaign and when we ask customers to donate they don't always know what we do and that we are a not-for-profit," said Stephanie Long, Sudbury ReStore Manager. "We are getting the word out more and more and it's going very well.”

This summer’s build project in Bracebridge will be a Women Build. Darlene Cushman, Bracebridge ReStore Sales Associate, said “not only did our female customers support our Hearts campaign; they signed up to volunteer on our build site.” The Hearts for Homes Campaign at the Bracebridge ReStore attracted 30 enthusiastic female volunteers and many other active supporters. Aura Devy, Bracebridge Sales Associate also commented “at first we set our fundraising goal at $1,000 and after surpassing that goal we set a new goal of $2,000. We ended up raising more than $2,000 thanks to the support of our amazing customers, volunteers and fellow staff members.”

A sincere thank you goes out to everyone who supported our Hearts for Homes Campaign 2016! 
Wonderful Things Happen at ReStores

One day two gentlemen came into the Midland ReStore to shop. They were very excited about the new apartment they were getting. Both had been living at the Guesthouse, which is our local shelter.

They asked questions about the furniture and beds took down notes and said they would have to talk to their caseworker about their funds. While they were shopping and measuring another customer overheard their conversation (most of the customers did as their excitement led to slightly elevated voices).

When the pair had left a customer approached me and asked if they had purchased the futon they were interested in. I told him they did not and he asked why. I simply said it wasn’t in the budget. He looked at me and stated “I would like to purchase that for them”. (I get goose bumps just writing this.) I thanked him and asked if there was a message or note he would like to pass along. He shook his head and said "no". We chatted a bit further and he said he hoped they enjoy their new place. I immediately phoned the caseworker and explained what had happened as I knew they would meet with her shortly.

Early the next morning, in came two very excited, happy and thankful guys. Grateful to have a bed to sleep in and feeling like society notices them, cares about them and wants them to be happy!

It was a great day at the ReStore…. Not only for the people receiving the gift, but for the person giving it and all of us that witnessed this random act of kindness.

Marg Hamelin
ReStore Manager - Midland
Volunteer Spotlight

Kerri Oughtred is a wonderful volunteer at the Bracebridge ReStore. Like most of our ReStore volunteers, she holds a special talent. Kerri is an artist and she creates AMAZING pieces such as the Hangin Things showcased in the picture above. Kerri creates these pieces by collecting beaver sticks in local lakes, drilling small holes evenly across the stick and hanging various antique items from the holes with fish line.

Check out some of Kerri's Hangin Things now on display at the Bracebridge ReStore and in next month's auction. Thank you Kerri for all your hard work and sharing your masterpieces.
Quote of the Week

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

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