Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands donates $20k to Men’s Shelter

December 21, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands donated $20,000 to the Dufferin Men’s Shelter in Orangeville from funds raised at the Club’s annual Taste of Autumn event.

The event was held on Oct. 21.

“We had our big fundraiser, the Taste of Autumn, in the fall, and we raised funds for different charities, and we’re here today to present the portion that is going to the [Dufferin] Men’s Shelter,” explained Len Meyer, president of the Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands. “The Taste of Autumn is a gala evening that our club hosts. It’s a dinner with an auction, and people have the chance to donate.”

This is the 29th year the Club has hosted the event. The Club raised the $20,000 to support the Dufferin Men’s Shelter Food Security program. This included selling pots of soup.

Len said the Club gets together to determine where the funds they raise will go when holding a large fundraiser.

“We try to go where the greatest need is,” Len explained. “Our committee gets together and we see where there is a need in town. It’s a new project, and you need those funds when you are trying something new.”

“We usually have a major beneficiary and a couple of small beneficiaries,” explained Rotary Club member Michele Fisher. “We’ve been doing the gala for 29 years.”

The funds will go a long way to help the shelter maintain its programs in Orangeville.

“The Men’s Shelter is very new, it just recently opened,” explained Jaime Edge, executive director of Choices Youth Shelter, which also runs the Dufferin Men’s Shelter under the same umbrella. “Since then, we have been very busy. We average between ten and 15 men under our roof each night. The average stay can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to two or three months.”

She added, “The men’s shelter is very unique because Dufferin has never had a men’s shelter. We have lots of services for youth and families, but there was a gap in the community that Choices thought they could fulfill.”

There are many reasons why people come to the shelter. The Food Security Program ensures that residents receive nutritious meals while staying at the shelter.

“It’s not just about putting a roof over their head or providing shelter and the basics; it’s also about providing resources and connections, so we don’t have people needing to come back to the shelter. We help with employment, and connections to mental health services, councillors, and medical assistance if the need it. We want to make sure they are set up for success.”

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