Wednesday, November 30, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 11.25.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Sudbury)
Last weekend, the team of staff and volunteers at the Sudbury ReStore braved cold and wet weather to spread some Christmas cheer around the city.

The team decorated the flatbed of a tractor-trailer unit with banners, christmas decorations and ReStore product and toured the city in front of spectators. It's the first Santa Claus Parade of many in the Region in which Habitat for Humanity will take part.

Huntsville residents, keep an eye out for our team in tonight's parade which begins at 7:00 p.m.! The Bracebridge Santa Claus parade will take place on Dec. 4th at 1:00 p.m.Stay warm, and enjoy the holiday season.

Of course every Santa needs some helpers. Sudbury ReStore Manager Stephanie Long would like the thank:

Tru-Nor Truck Center who donated the truck and driver
Rob Parsons
Randy Suomalainen
Matthew Craggs

William Day
Donated Tailor

Jenny Cyr
Tiara Bechard

City of Greater Sudbury:
Shelly Lalonde

Lance St.Louis
Jon Wawia
Kimberly Fairbairn

More photos below . . . 

In This Issue:
* Santa is Coming to Town

* The Barn Katz
* Britta's Column
* A Feel Good Story
* Health & Safety
* MPAC feedback
* Parry Sound Wins Draw
* Meaning of Home
* Maple Leaf Ticket Draw
* 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,

Britta and I ended last week with a visit to the St. Catharine’s ReStore after the National Leadership Conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake. At the beginning of this week, David and I travelled to Habitat Northumberland and marveled at their new ReStore in Cobourg. Along with seeing both of these well-appointed, well-branded, clean, tidy stores was the chance to chat with those involved in the everyday operations as well as the task of moving both stores.

After moving our Orillia ReStore to its new location this July, I will wholeheartedly agree that it’s not fun to move a ReStore. However, new locations present the opportunity to change so many parts of a ReStore that we see as standard. Physically moving into a new space presents the opportunity to change layout, demographics, culture and so much more. It’s a fresh start and a clean slate, while still maintaining the understanding and acceptance of the ReStore brand, plus ReStores help us serve families.

Along with some of the enlightening conversations over the past week or two, Habitat Gateway North has had several opportunities present themselves. Like most great ideas and opportunities, they never arrive when everything is running smoothly and perfectly balanced. These opportunities have come in the midst of multiple other projects and challenges. Ideas on how to move ahead come in the middle of meetings about unrelated activities or beyond work hours at all.

“If you think your job ends Friday, think again. Opportunity never sleeps.” – Aliza Licht

We all get tired. We all have times we get buried in work tasks. We all get overwhelmed with just how much there is to do. Those feelings are all normal. However, we can never lose sight of our mission: serving more families. Moving a ReStore helps to serve more families. Hosting a fundraising event helps to serve more families. Board meetings, Chapter meetings and conferences all help to serve more families. All of the hard work serves a purpose.

The ideas and innovation needed to grow in our service of families don’t take time off. Like a muse, they show up unannounced and often not when suitable. In my travels and conversations of the past two weeks, ideas have taken hold and moving into 2017 has become more and more exciting.

Sometimes, you have to get out of the office and out of the day to day. Sometimes, it’s more important to take time for coffee than business as usual. You just never know who you’ll meet, or what idea will waltz into your head.

Be well, do good deeds, and keep in touch,


The Barn Katz are set to take the stage in Kearney
Warning: this burning bluegrass band will inspire hand-clapping and foot-stomping with their infectious blend of fast-finger-picking and smooth-harmonic singing.

So, if you're lucky enough to be in attendance at the Kearney Community Centre when the Barn Katz take the stage this Sunday, make sure you're prepared for the onslaught of musical madness.

The one-night-only concert in support of South Almaguin's first-ever Habitat build is only a few days away. But don't despair, some tickets remain for the afternoon appearance. Call Richard McQuillin at (705) 571-6382 or email him here to save $5 on advanced tickets. Or, stroll up when the doors open at 1:30 p.m. on show day with $25 and enjoy.

The five-member southern Ontario band has been on the bluegrass beat since 2011 playing a number of venues across the country, often helping local causes along the way. Suzie Sweetman, Glenn George, Wayne Ferguson, Tim McDonald, and Geoff Somers all play an instrument and can all really belt it out. The Katz will be fresh off their performance at the CCBA Bluegrass Awards in Huntsville when they take the stage in Kearney. Don't miss your chance to experience a unique show while helping to build affordable housing and supporting local families. 
If you loved her that much . . .

From the Barn Katz show live at the registry theater in September. 

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in”. ~Author Unknown

Throughout Ontario Gateway North we are extremely fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers who create out Chapters, help at our ReStores and assist us in so many ways.

Our goal for 2017 is to build 17 homes for 17 families. With that challenge comes a need to mobilize community partners and volunteers from each region. We have started the process of securing volunteers in Muskoka, Orillia, South Almaguin, Pointe au Baril and Parry Sound.

Recently we have had MPAC & the YWCA Muskoka participate at the Huntsville build. We look forward to have Dockside Publishing joining the build in the coming weeks.
If you know of a company, group, school, or community group who would like to help on the Huntsville build, provide a meal for our volunteers or become a corporate sponsor please contact me at

We recently took part in the Volunteer Muskoka Trade Show and Social. It was a wonderful event and gave us the opportunity to meet new potential volunteers. Please visit their website in the weeks to come ( as we will list various volunteer opportunities on the site.

We would like to thank all of the volunteers that have helped put together tonight’s Santa Claus parade float for our Huntsville ReStore. Additionally we would like to thank the members of the Pointe au Baril Committee for helping organize the December 1stCommunity Conversation that will take place at the Pointe au Baril Community Centre and will be accessible to all via Live Stream.

This weekend will be busy throughout our regions as the North Bay Chapter will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday. The South Almaguin Adopt-A-Home will host its first fundraising concert featuring the Bluegrass band “The Barn Katz”. There are some tickets still available and they may be purchased at Cripple Creek Music in Huntsville. The tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Children 12 and under are free.

Have a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead.

Feel good story . . . 

This week, we shine some light on our neighbours. It's easy to live in a bubble when day-in and day-out so much focus is put toward what is happening in our own backyards. Who can blame us with builds ongoing in Huntsville and Espanola, and build plans being made for Orillia, Bracebridge and more. Not to mention the operation of five ReStores.

It's important to remember this is a Canada-wide movement, and affordable housing affects every one. In recognition of National Housing Day this past week a Habitat story ran in Peterborough documenting a Habitat family's transition from shelter to homeownership.

Here is a quote from the family's father, Josh Clark, which encapsulates everything we hope and strive for when presenting the Habitat homeownership model to hardworking families.

"Most people don’t understand you can go from the very bottom, and as long as you have help, you can go as high as you really want. We didn’t think we would have anything."

Read the full story from CHEX here.
Health & Safety tip of the week: Falls

I know you're expecting me to make a joke about the autumn season and make a corny pun here. But, when it comes to safety - I don't  play.

Falls in the workplace result in a significant number of workplace injuries in Ontario every year, and in some cases even death. Falls from heights, and same-level falls, can happen anywhere, anyplace, and anytime. Of course, these injuries and deaths from workplace falls are preventable.

When using a ladder always have a spotter nearby to help you in the event of ladder failure or a loss of balance. Furthermore, you should never do anything while standing on a ladder which will risk you losing your balance. Such common faults are reaching too far instead of moving the ladder or moving a heavy item. People often forget while standing on a ladder their level of mobility and support are greatly reduced.

Workers and volunteers don't need to be on a ladder or platform to suffer a serious fall. Slips and trips can be every bit as dangerous. To prevent these potentially dangerous follies make sure to clean up spills, clear clutter, and avoid running or sprinting.

With these simple tips and reminders the vast majority of workplace falls can be avoided. Watch your step.

Stay safe everyone.

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator 
Feedback from our Friends at MPAC

Here are some words from the MPAC crew who helped at the Habitat buildsite in Huntsville.

"Going into the build for Habitat for Humanity, I had no idea the work put into each build. I had no knowledge the future owners had to put 500 hours in and work for the house, pay a mortgage etc. My opinion on the overall day was great. They adjusted to everyone’s needs including Lindsay, and allowed us to help build using our own skills as well as direction to help support the build. I think this is a great program for MPAC to be involved in.”

"Thanks for an excellent day and a great experience."

“It was a great experience, Vince was great, the food was good, the work appropriate … all in all a very good experience.”

“I thought the day went really well. We were warmly greeted and shown exactly what to do. I am seven months pregnant and I had no trouble keeping up. There was nothing that was out of my ability. “

Another big thank-you to the volunteers from MPAC. If you're part of a team who would like to come help on the Huntsville or Espanola build let us know by sending an emailhere.
The Parry Sound Chapter has been awarded one of the donated Lily Schreyer paintings from Habitat Canada. The original painting will be available via bid at the Chapter's annual silent auction during the 2017 golf tournament. Keep an eye on this newsletter and our website for updates.

Lily Schreyer began painting as a child. In addition to her support of Habitat for Humanity, and as a result of her long-time interest in arts and crafts, she works tirelessly to raise the visibility and accomplishments of Canadian crafts artists. She has been very generous in donating to charity the proceeds from the sale of her own paintings. The Schreyers have championed the Habitat for Humanity cause since 1993, when they joined with Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter to build houses for Habitat as part of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The Schreyers continue to graciously donate their time to build with Habitat Affiliates and to increase the profile of Habitat for Humanity across the country.
(From L to R) Linda Acton-Riddle, Muskoka Chapter Chair, Meghan Smith, Habitat OGN Chief Operating Officer, and Britta Gerwin, Habitat OGN Director of Development and Communications, represent Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North at the Muskoka Volunteer Expo.

Habitat for Humanity is proud to partner with Volunteer Muskoka and provide a variety of ways for eager and passionate community members to get involved. Visit the new websitehere to explore the database and check back often as the website administrators post open volunteer opportunities

Building Homes. Building Hope. Building Together.  
We are almost at 2,500 entries across the country in Genworth Canada's Meaning of Home contest. Which means, students across Canada have raised nearly $25,000 toward the construction of affordable homes. Here is another entry from our region. Grade 5 student Amy from Sundridge has this to say about the meaning of home:
A home is a place were you can feel comfortable. A home is were you see your family every day. A home is were you can relax and have fun. Were you make fantastic memories and you can make up cool stories. A home is a cool is a good place for sleepovers, birthday parties and activities. When you are sad your family is always there to cheer you up in our home,to make you happy and feel safe.
A house is a place you live in. A house is when you have a roof over you head and a place you sleep at night.But it does not have your belongings.It takes awhile to get used to your house. A house is like when you are walking down the street and you see a house and you say “Hey look at that house”.But that is not yours.You don’t have all of your belongings there.
A home is special to me and I would never like to leave my home.So that is the meaning of a 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.
Habitat's Hockey Hat-Trick Raffle
Presented by the Parry Sound Chapter
Tickets may be purchased via the Parry Sound Chapter 
Help Habitat for Humanity through Points Sharing
It's the holiday season and you're racking up optimum points like nobody's business, but you just don't know how to use them? Well now you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity. You're welcome! And thanks!

The Shoppers Optimum Points Donation Program offers a unique and easy way to help support the construction of local affordable housing.

By donating some (or all) of your Shoppers Optimum Points to our organization, you are making it possible for Habitat to use your points toward products and supplies we need for our ongoing activities. We could use the points to buy snacks for our volunteers on the build site, or materials for our fundraising and key ceremonies. The options to help are numerous.

Here's how to donate:

Visit this website and login with your Shoppers Optimum Card before donating your points to a great cause.

With your support, we can "optimize" our fundraising and construction efforts and provide even more affordable homes in the community.

Building Homes. Building Hope. 

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