Saturday, November 5, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 11.04.2016

Thank you, Kate! 
Above: Kate Arnold (centre) celebrates with Habitat Homeowners Josh Smith and Winter King. Smith and King moved into their new Penetanguishene home last year. 

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi 

After 17 years as an indispensable volunteer and supporter of the Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North - North Simcoe Chapter, Kate Arnold will step down and become a member-at-large in order to focus on the needs of her immediate family. Kate exemplifies a person who wishes to change the world for the better. We are forever grateful for her dedication and service.

Although it's not without sadness that we bid Kate a fond farewell, as the Chapter's Family Selection and Partnering Chair, we would expect no less humility from a volunteer who has inspired so much change within her community.

Kate has been with the North Simcoe Chapter through it all. She has participated in builds including Penatang, Tay, Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour, and Midland. She was a member of the North Simoce Chapter when it gained official Affiliate status in 2006 and helped open the Midland ReStore in 2008. Kate was also integral with the Chapter's amalgamation with Habitat OGN in 2014.  Kate has tirelessly promoted the well-being of families throughout our region

Joining the North Simcoe Chapter, in Kate's stead, will be sisters Amy Wilson and Thea Saarimaki whom we excitedly welcome into the fold.

Habitat Homeowner Winter King said it best when she, along with her spouse and two children (Presley and Domi), moved into their new home just one year ago: "It’s overwhelming and exciting at the same time. This is ours. We’re going to have memories here."

Thank you to Kate, the North Simcoe Chapter and to all of our volunteers, for building the foundation for our partner families to experience the opportunity to create future memories that will be woven into their homes.

On behalf of the Habitat family, thanks for your incredible years of service Kate. You have changed the lives of many and only for the better.

Britta Gerwin
Director of Development and Communications
In This Issue:
* Thank You, Kate

* Celebrity Night
* Fund Development w/ Britta
* Build Photos
* Mark Rodgers
* Health & Safety
* Maple Leaf Ticket Draw
* Meaning of Home
* Event Posters
* Save the Dates
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* 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 Brick for Brick campaign visit
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!
Hi Habitat Gateway North Team!

This week, Jeff, our site supervisor in Espanola had a crew laying donated sod on site and every picture we get is one step closer to completion. Kudos to everyone on the Espanola build site and in the Sudbury District Chapter on maintaining the momentum!

Tomorrow, we have a group of young women from the YWCA joining us on our Huntsville Build Irene St. site to help with framing. We’re thrilled to see walls going up on the site and to have such an incredible group partnering with us for the day. If you’re interested in volunteering on site, get in touch by emailing or calling (705) 646-0106.

Tonight, Britta and Bobby are headed to the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce’s 23rd Annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Gala as representatives of the Bracebridge ReStore, nominated for the Best Retail Customer Service Award. Congratulations to the entire team at the Bracebridge ReStore for the nomination and we’ll keep everyone posted of the evening’s events.

At the beginning of the week, I reviewed the sales numbers for all of our ReStores for the month of October. Number crunching is not traditionally how I spend my time. However, over the past few months I’ve been doing more and more of it. Reviewing our weekly and monthly numbers in comparison to our budget is necessary to ensure we’re running profitable operations. With mentioning the word profitable, I’m sure it will be said that “we’re only focusing on the bottom line” with the ReStores.

Of course we’re focusing on the bottom-line. ReStores need to have profits. Yes, profit is a business terminology, along with gross sales, sales targets and profit margin. ReStores have to operate by these principles. If we want to be successful at building homes, we also need to be successful at the business of ReStores. ReStores are social enterprise. In the case of ReStores, revenue helps to cover administrative and build-related costs so Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North helps more families into homeownership.

ReStore volunteers and donors contribute to our mission the same way build volunteers and donors do. As a social enterprise, and specifically a ReStore, we don’t have endless resources to contribute to the business-level success. We have to be creative with our solutions to challenges. We’ve got bigger dreams to achieve than just a successful retail operation.

Remember, Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. ReStores have to focus on the business of profit margins, so Habitat can build more homes and serve more families.

Another key to this week (and many other weeks) is communication. A lot of my role with Habitat is answering questions, from the community, staff and volunteers. Often I’m asked questions that I don’t have an answer to right off the bat. It’s ok to not know, but it means you have to find the answer and follow up. My favourite response (and so far it’s working out well for me!) is “I don’t know, but I can find the answer.”  Communicating effectively is what keeps all of us from making assumptions.

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler

As Mr. Winkler so perfectly summarizes, assumptions eat away at the foundation of any relationship. While finding an answer may take longer than a split-second assumption, effective communication builds strength into a partnership. If you have a question, concern or idea, share them! We’re always happy to collaborate and grow as a community. And if you have a question I don’t know the answer to, I’ll find an answer!

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

The North Bay & Blue Sky Chapter walked the red carpet on Wednesday evening at Boston Pizza, and tried their hardest not the spill anything.

Volunteers from the Chapter acted as celebrity servers for a number of special dinner guests while raising over $450 toward a future Habitat build in North Bay.

A special thank you to celebrity servers John Dobbs, Peter Gregory, Charlene Foreman , Cheryl Raney and  Ellen Faulkner.

For more photos of the fundraiser click HERE. 
“Great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands anxiously engaged in a good cause” – Elder M. Russell Ballard.

This week has been filled with momentum and activity across Ontario Gateway North. We are grateful for the many hands that are engaged across our region. There are numerous ways that volunteers and businesses can become involved in helping us build homes for 17 families in 2017.

We are currently seeking committee members, build volunteers, meal sponsors, in-kind donors and corporate sponsors in Huntsville, Bracebridge, Orillia, Midland, South Almaguin, Parry Sound and Sudbury.  People interested in volunteering are invited to drop by our booth at the Volunteer Muskoka Trade Show and Social on Monday, November 14th. The event will take place in Gravenhurst at The Muskoka Steamship & Discovery Centre from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Upcoming volunteer opportunities will also be listed on the Volunteer Muskoka site for those interested in taking part in Muskoka and Parry Sound. More information and future listings may be found by clicking here.

Our Huntsville build is well under way at 11 Irene Street. Numerous agencies and businesses have been involved with the build. Tomorrow we will greet the YWCA build team, and on November 16th we will host the MPAC group build. We are thankful for the support of local restaurants and church groups who have generously donated meals to nourish our build teams. Many thanks to The Family Place RestaurantWestside Fish & Chips and Subway in Huntsville for their contributions. If you know of a group that would like to partner as a build group, or donor, please contact me via email at

In the coming weeks we will launch two new initiatives throughout Ontario Gateway North. The first is a weekly Insider’s Report highlighting various acquisitions. Customers who subscribe to our various social media feeds will be able to view newly donated items on Tuesdays. The second initiative will provide our donors with a new platform to donate various rewards points including Aeroplan, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and Air Miles. Points donated from the new initiative will help support Chapter fundraising events and builds.

There are numerous events taking place over the next few weeks including a Community Conversation that will take place at the Pointe-au-Baril community centre on December 1st. The information session may also be viewed via live stream. We will provide the link in next week’s newsletter for those that would like to take part from abroad.

Habitat for Humanity OGN will help usher in the holiday season with our Santa’s Toy Company window reveal and auction taking place at the Huntsville Place mall on November 12th.  Bring your children and take in the sight of the season while viewing our display. Additionally our Chapters and ReStores will take part in the Huntsville, Bracebridge and Sudbury Santa Claus parades. Please see our event calendar for details.

We are fortunate to live in such a giving region and I look forward to meeting more of you in the week to come.

View from the Buildsites
The ongoing Habitat builds in Huntsville and Espanola are moving steadily along. This week, our construction manager Vince Tournour oversaw the construction of the floor joist and board laying. Tomorrow, volunteers from the YWCA will start to build the walls.

In Espanola, construction lead Jeff Lapierre worked with volunteers to lay sod as that semi-detached nears completion with a target date of December 1.

If you'd like to volunteer on either the Espanola or Huntsville build sites drop us a line here. 
Calling on all Canadians to Create a Movement for Affordable Homeownership
Canada will be hosting the 2017 Carter Work Project. Watch Habitat Canada President & CEO Mark Rodgers talk about how you can help families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.
Health & Safety tip of the week: Bundle up your Safety Program for Old Man Winter

It seems, every year once Halloween has passed and the candy is long gone it's time to start thinking about winter. While winter can be a great time for comfort food, outdoor activities and bundling up - it especially marks a time to be ever vigilant in regards to work place safety.

A lot of workplaces are designed in such a way that they lack protection against the climate. If it's cold outside, it's cold inside. This can effect both the employees and the equipment, so it's important to make sure the proper protocols are followed. Wear gloves, or cover metal and other cold surfaces with insulating materials to protect against prolonged exposure. Make sure their is room for the equipment, tools, and valuable items inside away from the elements while still being able to work safety and free of clutter.

With winter comes snow, so make sure to have a snow-clearing schedule for the walkways. Also, it's very important to clear snow away from all emergency exits. Make snow removal the responsibility of all staff, and make sure it is never neglected. Make sure to clear icy walkways so staff, customers, and volunteers can feel safe when moving around.

Finally, make smart clothing decisions. Wear warm clothes in layers and a winter cap if possible. The innermost layer of clothing should be something which wicks away moisture while the outermost layer be something that is waterproof and warm.

Stay warm, dry, and safe this winter!

Stay safe everyone. 

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator 
Habitat's Hockey Hat-Trick Raffle
Presented by the Parry Sound Chapter
Tickets may be purchased via the Parry Sound Chapter 
Entries are rolling in from our Region. Here is a poem from Grade 4 Student Evelyn in Sudbury:
Home is the place that we all belong.
It’s a place that we all get along.
When you’re sad or mad or blue,
People are there to comfort you.
Warmth always fills the air and everyone loves to share.
Hugs and Kisses everywhere.
Safe and warm on the ground my whole world turns around.
Home is a place filled with emotions
and no one will ever laugh.
Home is a place with memories that will always last.
But there’s this sad thing I don’t want to say.
Some people don’t know this feeling today.
So let’s help as hard as we can because
everyone should know that feeling of home.


It's time to show your support for Habitat by spreading the word about the Genworth Meaning of Home contest! The contest has been open since Monday, Oct. 3, and so far only one poem has been registered on the Genworth Meaning of Home site, from Milton, ON. Let's go, Habitat OGN! We only need 80% of eligible students to simply ENTER the contest and we'd have enough money to build a home. There's no better time, no better reason, and no better way to support our cause than this right here and right now.

By encouraging students and teachers from all across Canada to participate in the Genworth Canada Meaning of Home contest, young people learn how to be engaged, compassionate citizens while directly supporting the home-building initiatives of Habitat Affiliates – a one-of-a-kind opportunity for young people to make a real impact in their communities.

Students can submit their entries between October 3rd and November 30th. For more information on contest rules, or to submit an entry, visit The contest winner and runners-up will be announced in February, 2017.
Christmas is just around the corner, and this year we've teamed up with the Huntsville Place Mall to create Santa's Toy Company. The holiday window and auction will be revealed on Saturday November 12th, please join us to help begin the holiday season.

Additionally, Habitat for Humanity OGN will be featured in the Bracebridge, Huntsville and Sudbury Santa Claus Parades this holiday season.

Come visit us at our booth!

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