Call for Applications – Seeking Members for the SIRCH Board of Directors

Would you like to help plan and oversee meaningful food programs, training opportunities, social enterprises and parent/child programming in Haliburton County? Do you have experience and/or expertise in business, social planning, food services, education or the charitable sector? Have you lived through challenging circumstances perhaps and can bring that viewpoint to the table?

SIRCH is a not-for-profit organization with charitable status. For the past 30 years, SIRCH has developed dozens of community-based programs and services. Many of those have been divested to other organizations once piloted and stable. And SIRCH continues to change as we carry out our mission: to identify community needs and respond with innovative services, programs and partnerships that support individuals, families and communities.

SIRCH is currently looking for new Board members who could be committed to our vision to create thriving communities where each person feels connected, supported and encouraged. Board members who have “an unwavering belief in people and possibilities.” Our Board of Directors meets once a month to share a meal and help direct the organization’s activities.

Have we piqued your interest? If so, please send a Letter of Interest to stating why you wish to be considered as a Board member and outlining your relevant skills and experience. It’s a great way to get involved!

Monarchs & Music: A Celebration of Butterflies and Blues

This year, SIRCH has partnered with the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association for it’s 4th annual butterfly release. Proceeds will support HHOA fish stocking program and SIRCH Children’s programming. Only 300 Monarch butterflies have been ordered, so get your Monarch package soon! For $50 you will receive one Monarch butterfly to release on July 15 and two tickets for entry to the day’s event. Call 705-457-1742 to place your order using VISA or MasterCard.

Serendipity or … ?

I love serendipity! When those unexplainable things happen – you think of someone you haven’t thought of in a decade and they show up on your doorstep the next day, or you pick up a book while you’re in a waiting room and it gives you the answer to an issue you’ve been stuck on. Or you need a particular skill set for a job and the ideal person walks into the office. To me it’s a sign that the Universe (or Someone) has my back.

Well, a couple of weeks ago Jenny, who cleans our SIRCH office, said our vacuum needed to be replaced. So, of course, we looked first at Thrift Warehouse (😊) but couldn’t find one. So Donna and I went on the computer and looked at vacuums and reviews and chose a vacuum. We tend to squeeze every penny at SIRCH so it was a modest vacuum but one with 5 star ratings and … well, we needed one! The best price (and free delivery) was at Costco. With HST it came to $214.69.

Stacy, in Finance, went in the safe to get our Costco membership information – it had been a long time since we had ordered anything. Under the membership, was a card, with a note handwritten by Diane Johnson who retired last year. I’d say the card was probably 2 years old or more.

The amount of the card? The EXACT amount we needed: $214.69! To the penny!

I have to admit – I felt very looked after. And giggled a bit. And shared with everyone I know. Because to me it’s an indicator that the Universe has our backs. And obviously a sense of humour!

~ Gena

Bereavement Support changes

Bereavement support is an ongoing need in Haliburton County. Individual bereavement support has been available through Community Hospice since 1994 (initially developed and provided by SIRCH for 20 years, then transferred to the Community Programs Division at Haliburton Highlands Health Services). About the time that Hospice changed sponsors, SIRCH was developing Bereavement Group support, using a model created by Lyle Horne at Hospice Peterborough, called Journey Through Grief. SIRCH offered these groups in the county every spring and fall for three years. People who have attended the groups have spoken of the great impact of going through such a program with others who are also experiencing grief. The Journey Through Grief groups were facilitated by trained volunteer facilitators with expertise in bereavement support.

Following several discussions between HHHS Community Programs VP, Stephanie MacLaren and SIRCH Executive Director, Gena Robertson, there was a mutual agreement that grief and bereavement support can be offered through HHHS Hospice and Palliative Care programing. While individual support through the grieving process can be accessed through existing programming with hospice volunteers or the social work support through the Palliative Care Community Team, HHHS recognizes that group support is an important component of the grieving process for many of our community members. In addition to ongoing individual support and the informal support group, Lunch for the Bereaved, which meets regularly in Minden and Haliburton, HHHS will be working in the coming weeks to further identify bereavement supports needed in our region. This work will begin with a community-wide survey to be launched in December.

SIRCH has great gratitude and appreciation to all the volunteers who have made bereavement programming possible over the past years. Gena Robertson thanked the volunteers who have facilitated the Journey Through Grief groups. Following a discussion at the SIRCH Board of Directors, and a motion to close the Bereavement Program, Gena said “The volunteer facilitators have dedicated hundreds of hours to facilitating the bereavement groups, and they have made such a difference in the lives of the group members! However with no core funding to support the groups, it makes sense to pass the baton to HHHS.”

An invitation has been extended to all volunteers from HHHS and the volunteers who have been involved in the SIRCH Bereavement Program to be a part of the HHHS bereavement supports in our community.


Christmas gift giving made easy!

We all know the feeling: It’s ten days until Christmas and there’s that one aunt, that one friend you haven’t yet found a present for. Maybe you kept looking for the perfect gift. Maybe the person is one of those people who are notoriously hard to buy for. Or maybe you’re a last-minute person and you’re still urgently looking for presents for just about everybody! Whatever your situation is, you need something good, and you need it fast.

Consider purchasing a Gift from the Heart from SIRCH Community Services. Here’s why it’s a great idea …

1. You and your recipient will be improving the lives of people in need right here in Haliburton County. Your donation will help provide nutritious meals for those most in need due to illness, poverty or critical circumstance.

2. Giving a “Gift from the Heart” is ethical giving. It is a gift that truly matters, a gift that brings with it hope and change.

3. According to an Ipsos Reid poll, 9 out of 10 Canadians feel that Christmas is becoming too commercial, and the number of people who would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else is growing.

4. Giving an ethical gift to SIRCH is a way of giving back to your neighbours and community in the most meaningful way. Not only does SIRCH provide over 5,000 meals each year free to those in need, it provides training, supports and employment opportunities.

5. It’s quick and easy: All you have to do is go to the SIRCH website, and donate.  We’ll send you a card to give to the recipient. It will continue to remind the recipient of the good their gift is doing.

6. If the recipient is generally hard to buy for, a Gift from the Heart is a great way of making sure they’re not left out without getting them something they neither want nor need.

7. Gifts from the Heart  allows ethical giving on a local level. For example, in Haliburton County there is poverty that no one sees but that we as community members need to acknowledge and address. We need to give in our own communities.

Give a Gift from the Heart here.