Give a gift that comes from the heart

Christmas is less than 100 days away. Yes, you read that correctly!

In just two short months the carols will be all over the radio stations, lights will be up on the rooftops and malls will be filled to the brim with people spending way too much money on stuff they don’t need.

Ugh malls. Doesn’t the thought of going to a crowded mall with an even more crowded parking lot seem like the last thing you want to do right about now?

This holiday season you can avoid all of that and do your shopping from the comfort of your home, in your pyjamas! No, we’re not talking about Amazon, but a different type of shopping that will make your heart feel good and help those who could use a boost this Christmas.

Gifts from the Heart is a campaign that makes gift giving easy and rewarding, while helping the residents of Haliburton County. No matter how big or how small, your donation is very much appreciated and put to good use.

Last year 7,300 healthy meals were given to people in the community, which was possible through fundraising support.

According to a social survey done by Stats Canada, 91% of donors said their reason for donating was because they felt compassion towards people in need. Other reasons cited for donating included the idea of helping a cause in which they personally believed in and wanting to make a contribution to their community.

By supporting Gifts from the Heart you are playing a part in continuing the good work done by SIRCH Community Services. You are helping those in need and supporting a cause that is worth believing in.

Now doesn’t that sound better than navigating a crowded mall parking lot?

To donate to Gifts from the Heart, click here.

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.