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By Bill Rea
They didn't quite get the 100 women out that they were hoping for, but the first meeting of the Caledon chapter of 100 Women Who Care drew a good crowd to Caledon Ski Club last Wednesday night.
There were about 50 women on hand, and that will mean a sizable contribution will be going to Caledon Meals on Wheels. It was the first meeting of the group, and last Wednesday's weather likely encouraged some people to stay home.
Palgrave area resident Michele Newton, a co-founder of the chapter, said participants were able to nominate worthy causes before the meeting. The names of three of these charities were drawn, and the nominators were given five minutes to address the assembly, making the case for why their cause should be selected. The participants vote on which cause gets the money collected at the meeting.
Each participant had pledged to contribute $100.
“We've been promoting it for just over three weeks now,” Newton said, adding the plan is to hold four of these meetings per year.
Meals on Wheels was one of the charities drawn, along with Caledon Community Services (CCS) and Teen Ranch Ministries.
Speaking on behalf of Meals on Wheels, Barb McCreath spoke of the benefit the service had been to her family, particularly her mother, who had been living with them and who died last year at 99.
“Caledon Meals on Wheels are more than just meals,” she said. “They are a community hub for seniors.”
Christine Gnass, who works in resource development for the service, said the need is out there, but a lot of people in Caledon don't realize it. There are older people who might live in large houses, but who are also on restricted incomes. In other cases, the volunteer delivering the meals is only visitor that person might receive all day.
“There have been incidents when we've been first responders,” she added.
Shirley Hoppler spoke on behalf of CCS, commenting that the agency has been operating for years.
“It does a lot of wonderful things,” she said, citing such activities as the annual Santa Fund at Christmas.
Vera Robinson spoke of some of the other services, such as helping people upgrade their education and giving help with their resumes.
She said she uses the services of CCS a lot, and tries to give back, collecting toys at Christmas for the Santa Fund.
“It's just a wonderful service we have in Caledon,” she said.
Linda Ford spoke in support of Teen Ranch ministries.
She said it's a non-profit organization that provides training for volunteers. It also operates a benevolent fund to help families that can't afford it send their kids to camp.
Ford said she benefitted from going to camp when she was 11, then became a volunteer with the organization. She reflected on the joy seen on the young faces and how impressed parents were when they saw the impact on their children.
“For me, it was a haven,” she remarked. “It's a wonderful place and the people there just give their heart and soul.”
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