Week of Action Against Poverty 2010

Two crises evoked admirable responsiveness within the community of Kenora during the local Week of Action Against Poverty (WAAP February 14-20).  The loss of funding to the winter hostel program at the Fellowship Centre and the Haiti earthquake disaster both struck just before the Week of Action. Despite this division of attention, both the international and local benefited from the good will of Kenora’s citizens.  Two fundraising concerts (Act Global, Act Local) held at the Cornerstone and Shooters raised $3,000.000 that was split between Haiti (Partners in Health) and the Fellowship Centre. The music continued as two local musicians loaded their poverty themed songs to YouTube( •.¸.•*¨*•♫♪ CHARLIE PLAYS for POVERTY ♪♫•*¨*•.¸.•; What's the Difference ~~ Written and performed by Mr. Jan Boutwell (Kenora, Ontario).  This expansion into the internet as an awareness raising tool also included the creation of a fundraising Facebook page to benefit the winter hostel program. Membership in this page rose to over 400 within a very short time period. One of the Week of Action projects (the $20 challenge) was launched from this site.

Activities seemed to be low-keyed this year but the cumulative impact doubled from the previous year. The requested focus on the Fellowship Centre’s hostel program netted over $10,000 in donations.  Supporting activities included direct donations (Lions Club, ScotiaBank, St.Thomas Aquinas High School, Morningstar Centre,  and individual donations), and integrative activities (Nechee Centre-Bannock Bake-Off, Making Kenora Home pancake breakfast,  KPC&FS-Residential Youth Program).  Bindigen Learning Centre organized a Pizza Lunch delivery project and Community Friends held a Bake Sale. Both events earned further funds for the Fellowship Centre.


As has become customary, the Kenora Ministerial Association, opened the week with their “Prayers from the Pulpit” project.  Community congregations raised poverty issues through sermon, prayers and an interdenominational volleyball tournament.  Local media (Daily Miner & News, Enterprise, CJBN, CJRL) also contributed to awareness raising through interviews, commentary and news releases.  The Kenora Seniors Coalition did a leader’s telephone tree advocating for affordable housing to our representatives in the municipality, district, province and nation.

Making Kenora Home released their third booklet in the Homeless In Kenora series. The book launch was held at HoJo’s and featured stories from the Fellowship Centre.  Kenora Patricia Child & Family Services donated the first printing which was quickly snatched up by eager readers at the launch. There have been two subsequent printings in order to keep up with public demand. The booklet is also featured on the Making Kenora Home website.

Pleasure mixed with purpose at several entertaining events in addition to the concerts. The Open Your Heart dance sponsored by Kenora Patricia Child & Family Services benefited the needs of youth within the foster care system.  Legal Aid Ontario’s Area Office and Northwest Community Legal Clinic held an Olympic Spirit fundraiser with benefits going to the Triple Play program. The Four Directions Aboriginal Toastmasters group met the $20 FaceBook challenge and enjoyed a creative presentation by one of their members on responding to poverty in our community.

Because “Wear Red Day” fell on a weekend followed by a statutory holiday, responses did not meet the levels of participation previously reported.  The CIBC staff did wear red on February 12 and collected food donations. It is recommended that Wear Red day be scheduled for a work and school day to increase participation. Other food donations were collected by the Northwest Health Unit (Market Square offices) and by individuals within the community. Beneficiaries included the Salvation Army food bank, the Fellowship Centre, Jubilee Church of God and the Minto Family Resource Centre.

The Kenora Metis Warmth and Wellness Group held a week long Knit-A-Thon that produced 36 fresh units of winter wear. Each unit contained mitts, hats and scarves. Another dozen units were added to the stock and distributed to those in need. They will be having a knitwear sale at the Métis Centre on April 17th to further fundraise.

Several projects were scheduled outside of the week’s parameters and some are yet to be completed.  Haps committed the proceeds from their Beef Bun sales to the Fellowship Centre for the month of March.  A local photographer donated work for auction at the book launch and created a “Love Out Loud” calendar with proceeds going to the hostel program.

Walk Together
April 24, 2010

The calendar is available on redbubble.com. Elder Nancy Morrison is organizing a Memory March on April 24 with benefit going to the Fellowship Centre. A silver collection at the Anti-Racism Day Art Exhibit (March 21) organized by the Kenora Resource Team will also be supporting the hostel program.

This is the fourth poverty week held since the inception of this localized event. Reports that have been collated by the Northwest Community Legal Clinic indicate that interest remains high. Given the individualistic responses within the community that are encouraged by Week of Action Against Poverty, not all activities can be tracked for reporting. Ultimately, it is not the reporting of these volunteer commitments that is important but rather the undertaking of these actions. Each year has shown the heart of Kenora to be caring and committed to all within the community. Beyond charitable benefit, this complimentary showcasing attracts investment in Kenora’s future because it is the citizenry who create their own community. Week of Action shows the world that we are a community of pro-active, well intentioned people who are worth working with.

  February 14-20, 2010

Community Caring and Sharing