The Window & Door Store looking to expand reach of Chemo Bag Campaign

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

A local organization is reaching out to the wider community to help make a charitable effort go even further for those who are going through the trials of chemotherapy.

Jessica Ogden, co-owner of The Window & Door Store and Thirty-One Consultant, is once more hosting the Chemo Bag Campaign, an effort she began in 2017 to help provide comforts to those who are going through chemotherapy. This year, however, she and the staff at The Window & Door Store are doing things differently and reaching out to individuals and businesses in Fort Frances to help make the program even bigger.

Ogden said she was inspired to begin the Chemo Bag Campaign those years ago out a desire to help patients starting chemotherapy at La Verendrye General Hospital, as well as by seeing it work successfully in other areas.

“One of the directors with 31, the lady I’m underneath, she did this in Southern Ontario, in Strathroy, and she inspired our team to do this in the area we live in,” Ogden said.

“I think we donated 82 or 88 bags, and I’ve been doing it ever since. What happens is people on my Thirty-One Facebook group will buy a bag, and then I use my profits, or my commission, from the bag and fill them.”

The bags Ogden creates are full of creature comforts and other items that aim to make the chemotherapy process more tolerable. Ogden says she regularly receives donations from members of the community to contribute towards the bags, such as hand made blankets. Other items that go into the bags include travel essentials like toothpastes and toothbrushes, to diversionary activities like crossword books. Even when the campaign isn’t active, she says people still know what she does and go out of their way to make donations to the bags.

“A couple of weeks ago I came home to a bag on my front step, and so I opened it up, and my husband said, “oh, it must be for your chemo bags,’” Ogden said.

“There was no name on it. I’ll just get random things on my doorstep saying ‘For Chemo Bags’ because people know where I live, they’ve donated before, and it’s something that we’ve wanted to get more businesses involved with.”

In an effort to expand the program, Ogden is bringing the campaign into the store proper, where her new marketing and public relations employee will take charge in approaching businesses for contributions and assistance. The Store is also collaborating with the Riverside Foundation for Health Care in order to increase the ways members of the public can contribute, with the Foundation now able to accept specifically earmarked monetary donations to the Chemo Bag Campaign while also being able to provide charitable tac receipts.

“We’re trying to get more businesses involved, whether they want to just donate money towards the campaign and then we purchase whatever, and it might go to if they donate a certain amount then they can have their logo on the bag, that sort of thing,” Ogden said.

“This is our first time doing it so we’re just kind of working with businesses to see what works for each business. Maybe they don’t have a thousand dollars to donate, but they have merchandise or something they want to put in. We could probably have done this on our own as The Window & Door Store but we’re trying to come together as a community and show that we’re a community that works together to bring comfort to people when they’re going through that.”

“We’ve witnessed firsthand the positive impact these Chemo Bags have on individuals undergoing chemotherapy,” Ogden continued.

“It’s heartening to see the community come together to support such a meaningful cause. Our partnership with the Riverside Foundation for Health Care ensures that every donation counts and contributes to the well-being of those in need.”

The Window & Door Store is a second generation family owned business specializing in Residential and Commercial Windows & Doors. Committed to community engagement and social responsibility, they have initiated the “Chemo Bag Campaign” to provide comfort and support to individuals undergoing chemotherapy.

The Window & Door Store encourages individuals and businesses alike to join them in making a difference. Donations can be made directly to the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, earmarked for the “Chemo Bag Campaign,” providing a tangible way for the community to show their support.

For more information or to contribute to the “Chemo Bag Campaign,” please contact Jessica or Heather at The Window & Door Store at 807-274-0302.