“Community Chest”

On Sunday evening, my wife, Marnie, and I joined with a great number of district people who stuffed themselves in to the annual “Community Chest” benefit dinner at La Place Rendez-Vous.
The evening is a fundraiser to assist district families who have someone suffering from an illness and need financial assistance.
Last year, the district raised and dispersed more than $32,000 to some 64 families. That is a remarkable sum.
Helped by the local Lions and Kiwanis clubs, the Knights of Columbus, the “Spirit of Christmas” committee, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, and the Rendez-Vous staff, the “Community Chest” board is a fundraising marvel.
Georges Blanc expressed it most eloquently when he noted everything for the evening was donated. Two distinguished district ladies supplied the homemade perogies and cabbage rolls while businesses supplied the balance of the meal.
This year’s dinner raised more than $16,000, with much of it coming from donations of personal craftsmanship up for bid. And those present were prepared to pay premium dollars knowing the proceeds all would go to a district family in need.
It is really exciting to see the fine work district people produce for this fundraiser. Who would have known that George Blanc is a woodworker and specializes in making Adirondack chairs?
The painted stone that Leanne Donaldson made will become a cherished keepsake, as will the jewellery box by Debbie Logan.
The children’s quilt made by Shelly DeGagne will become a family heirloom. And Ray Coran produced another award-winning bird carving that is one-of-a-kind (this time an owl).
Often when we look at ways of raising money, we only look to financial sources. The “Community Chest” accepts help from all sources—and the district responds.
The fundraising is the true spirit of the people of Rainy River District. For some families, the “Community Chest” has been the difference between financial ruin and ongoing financial health following a severe illness.
We may think that OHIP will look after our needs, but it fails to cover financial support to immediate family members being with spouses and children. The “Community Chest” helps keep families together in times of sickness.
Each year that the “Chest” continues, more people from across the district will be helped. In its short time of existence, it already has made a difference to hundreds of people and their families.
In less than three weeks, the Riverside Foundation for Health Care will be holding its annual fundraiser—this year featuring a chair auction and casino. District artists already are decoratively painting chairs for the auction (several are on display in downtown Fort Frances).
And district residents again will dig into their pockets to assist the Foundation in delivering quality care close to home.
All who contribute their talents and money continue to make Rainy River District one of the safest and best places to live in Canada.

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