Wow, the new store is looking good. We will be open this Saturday, April 20! Hope to see you there at 141 Hastings Street North, in downtown Bancroft.
Are you over 60 and have some time to share with another senior? Are you hooked on shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots? Do you love talking about family history with others but wish you knew more about your own?
A new program SIRCH is launching will help you find your Family Roots! Beginning this April, the year-long pilot project is seeking ten senior (60+) volunteers who will be trained by project coordinator and local genealogist Donna Gagnon. As part of the thorough training, you’ll learn to research your own family history back 3 generations. Then you will help other seniors, who may be more isolated and needing to connect with their community, to research their own family history. By being that mentor and buddy, you’ll change someone’s life!
The program will provide a fun and social environment, with refreshments, weekly meetings, quarterly “reveals” and much more. There is a time commitment, but it’s a project that will make your heart sing if you like to connect, give back, and are intrigued by the past.
The Family Roots program is made possible by a grant from the Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program. It will be supported by the Haliburton Highlands Museum, and Haliburton Highlands CARP Chapter 54.
Space is limited so register today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 705-457-1742.
One of the things we say about Cook It Up and Ready For Retail is that both programs are underpinned by what we call “a gratitude platform.” In other words, we don’t just want to teach food service or retail skills and customer service. We want people to appreciate their unique abilities and experiences, to look for the positives in their lives, to believe that this community wants them to succeed, and ultimately to become a positive role model for others.
As a society we tend to focus on what’s wrong, not what’s right … our news is full of stories of doom and gloom. It can be really difficult to think of things you are grateful for when everything in your life seems to be going wrong. Or when we really don’t want to go to the grocery store because inevitably we are going to be stuck with the cashier or behind the person who always complains about everything.
Often we tend to take for granted the good that is already present in our lives. Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted:
• your ability to walk
• your ability to speak
• your best friend
• your wallet/purse with all your cash, credit cards and ID
• the use of your right hand
Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one.
Or let’s look at some smaller things. Imagine that you have your arms full of stuff and someone runs and opens the door for you. Or that you are absolutely famished but your forgot your lunch and you don’t have much money then you see a sign that says “Hot lunch free today.” Or that a friend told you how much your encouragement and support meant to him. Or that your 3 year old daughter brought you a bouquet of slightly wilted daisies.
Dr. Robert Emmons is a professor and researcher who has focused on how gratitude and thankfulness are related to human flourishing. “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”
Countless research studies show that finding a bit of thankfulness each day can actually increase our happiness level and decrease depression. It increases physical health, brain function, and a sense of fulfillment. In our programs we encourage the trainees to develop that “attitude of gratitude.” To make it a habit to express appreciation for all different parts of life, no matter how small.
“If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” – Lewis Howes
I believe that what you focus on you get more of. If you focus on what you don’t like, don’t want or fear most … guess what? You’ll be noticing things that shore up that hypothesis. If you focus on what you appreciate, are grateful for, and want in your life … you’ll notice the things that prove that mindset – in other words, you’ll be attracting those.
So how do we develop an Attitude of Gratitude?
- Count Your Blessings: It’s important not to just think about them in your head, but actually write them down. And remember, gratitude is not about a comparison with others nor is it an acknowledgement that other people are worse off than you. Gratitude requires an appreciation of the positive aspects of your own life, even the smallest things. (if you are struggling to think of them try an A-B-C List, using the alphabet as a guide. Go down each letter and come up with a blessing for each one.
A- animals – I really love my dog who runs to greet me when I get home … she gives me unconditional love.
B- bed – my bed is so comfortable and warm … I love snugging under the covers.
C- chocolate – my friend gave me a piece of chocolate cake … it was sooo delicious!
- Three Things: Find at least three things you are grateful for each day. Do not repeat – each day choose something different. Begin in the morning to look for things to appreciate and make a note for later, or email yourself.
- If it’s easier, get a Gratitude Buddy. If you think you’ll need some motivation, choose someone to do the 45 days with. Every day email each other your list. It’s inspiring and even when you’re tired and inclined to skip the day, it keeps you both accountable.
- Be Grateful for Yourself: Quit comparing yourself to your sister, or the neighbour, or anyone. Recognize all the unique things that make you you!
One of the most amazing guys I knew didn’t have much money ever, but he had the unique talent of caring. One day he was driving along and saw a fox that had barbed wire wrapped around its paw – he got out of his truck, went over, unwound the wire …without the fox even biting him. As he stood there, the fox ran off a ways, then turned, sat, and lifted his sore paw. Then took off. But what a gift!
Another time a car was pulled over by the end of his driveway and when he went to see if he could help, the woman clearly had been crying. He talked to her for two hours, and eventually took her to see her doctor. You see as it turned out, she’d been going to commit suicide, had a plan, and had just stopped to get the pills out of her purse. This was a guy who often thought of himself as a failure because he didn’t make lots of money. But what a difference he made! Start to recognize those small gestures in your own selves, your gifts and talents. It will help you recognize them in others.
- Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/ helping/ supporting you. We tend to talk to other people about the teachers, friends or mentors who have inspired us, but often forget to tell them how much what they did or said meant. What a difference it makes to be acknowledged. So don’t wait – text, write, call or visit the special people who helped you along the way.
When we train ourselves to look at life through the lens of gratitude rather than disappointment, we find ourselves happier and more at peace. There is so much to be grateful for if we just learn to look for it.
Gratitude isn’t an emotion that is reserved for those moments when you get what you want. When things go wrong you can also use the power of gratitude. I know that’s a tough one, but truly every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. It may be a learning lesson. It may be an opportunity. It may simply be that when you know what you don’t want, it helps clarify what you do want. When faced with a problem or issue, ask yourself the following questions:
“What’s good about this?”
“What can I learn from this?”
“How can I benefit from this?”
“Is there something about this situation that I can be grateful for?”
Gratitude has physical benefits as well. Research from all over the world shows that people who are grateful:
have stronger immune systems.
are less bothered by aches and pains
have lower blood pressure
have lower stress levels.
The bottom line is, if you want better health, focus on the things you’re grateful for. The small things are just as important as the big achievements. You can feel grateful for a hot cup of coffee. The spring peepers. The wind in the trees. A smile from a stranger. Being aware of what you are grateful for, every single day, will change your life!
~ Gena Robertson, SIRCH Executive Director
Community Food Centres Canada recently shared an op-ed written by their CEO, Nick Saul, entitled “The new Canada Food Guide highlights the biggest obstacle to healthy eating—poverty.”
The new Canada Food Guide, he says, aims to support people to live healthier lives. It’s an impressive document that provides evidence-based guidance for what to eat—more plants and plant-based protein, more whole grains, less sugar, less saturated fat—and also how to eat—at home, with others, with joy and pleasure. The addition of this social context is important, as we know the incredible power food has to bring people together.
But Saul goes on to say that the question we need to ask is who gets to put all this good research and thinking into practice. The answer, of course, should be everyone. But for many, the recommendations are too far out of reach. The chronic insecurity they struggle with is caused by deep poverty and inequality—it’s not something that just pops up when the price of cauliflower spikes.
“Every day I think about who’s not eating in this country. The number is in the millions—nearly 13 per cent of our neighbours. The facts are hard to digest. Thirty-one per cent of single mothers are missing meals so their kids can eat. One in six children are living in households that can’t afford to put supper on the table. The situation is even more dire in the north: 55 per cent of Inuit living in Nunavut struggle with food insecurity. Hard to imagine this reality co-existing with the neighbourly compassion we pride ourselves on, and that runs deep in our country.
Do the math and you start to understand the anxiety and stress that low-income Canadians struggle with every day. According to 2018 Ottawa Health Unit data, a family of four on Ontario Works had $1,014 a month left to spend after rent. The cost of a nutritious food basket was $868, leaving only $146 to cover all other expenses, including transportation, clothing and utilities. Things are worse in Indigenous communities: in Attawapiskat, the cost of a nutritious food basket is $1,909 per month. No amount of creative budgeting can make that amount last until the end of the month. Food is often the first thing to go.
The health consequences of this massive vulnerability around food are severe. People who don’t eat regularly or are forced to eat the cheapest food available are some of the sickest in our country. Name the chronic disease—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension—and people living on low incomes are there in numbers that far exceed the national average. Diet-related diseases are the single biggest risk factor for death and disability in this country. They reduce quality of life and opportunity for millions of Canadians. They cost our health-care system $26 billion every year. And this massive health inequity diminishes us as a society.” Nick Saul
At SIRCH we care deeply about reducing poverty and connecting people. We have been blessed to have some amazing partnerships and supporters that help us chip away at food insecurity. With the generous donations and supports from businesses, organizations and individuals, we have been able to give nutritious food to those who need it most, not only through our regular programs but to the community at large. The free Thursday lunches during February were a huge hit. Cook It Up free lunches start at Molly’s in Minden on Tuesday, March 12 and run until May. Our caring Community Kitchen volunteers cook and freeze delicious meals to give out throughout the year. Farmers and gardeners donate produce during the growing season. In the fall, dozens of people pick apples from their trees for the Applesauce Project. And several other initiatives are in the works. Together we can and will make a difference!
There is a saying that goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The old proverb has to do with the weather and many believe if the month starts out with bad weather, it will end with a sure sign of spring. As Canadians we are obsessed with weather and I know by March, many are ready for spring to appear.
Well we’ve got a bit of sunshine to brighten up your March with the news that Cook It Up is returning to Molly’s Bistro Bakery in Minden! Starting March 12, and running until May 7, every Tuesday you can enjoy a free, 3-course meal at Molly’s from 12-2pm.
This will mark the fifth season of Cook It Up, which is a food services training program aimed at helping unemployed or underemployed individuals find career opportunities. The meals at Molly’s offer the trainees a chance to hone their skills and the public an opportunity to enjoy delicious food and offer feedback. This year the participants will be offering international/regional cuisine. We will post the menu, along with the trainee’s profile, on the Monday preceding the Tuesday lunch.
Cook It Up provides on-the-job training and employment opportunities for 8-12 participants, but it is done with some unique key elements that ensure its success:
- A gratitude platform/philosophy that underpins the training
- Partners with a restaurant owner to take over their restaurant on a day it is typically closed, and preparing, cooking and serving an upscale 3-course lunch (free to the public)
- Promoting meaningful ongoing interaction between the trainees and the public.
So for the next few months spend your Tuesdays at Molly’s, regardless of the weather, and you will be sure to leave with a smile on your face and some spring in your step!
To learn more about Cook It Up click on this link.
As we wrap up our month of celebrating the Community Action Program for Children, we thought we’d share a couple of stories. As you may know, SIRCH has been providing the CAPC program in Haliburton since 1994, and has sponsored CAPC in City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland Counties since 1998! CAPC does so much more than connect parents, provide tangible support, and ensure participants receive nutritious food; it has also been the catalyst for some amazing success stories! There are so many participants who make us super proud!
Several parents return to secondary or post-secondary education. One has been taking online classes for a year, and has found full time work in the field in which she studied. Several have upgraded so they can apply to college or university. It is so great to see their confidence and determination. This past year one of the CAPC graduates opened her own home-based licensed daycare! Many of our parents are involved in small home-based businesses for products they have created, or have become distributors for established companies.
A previous teen mom had two children permanently removed from her care. When she was pregnant with her third child, she joined CAPC / CPNP and gained the skills, peer support, and confidence that supported her in a successful parenting journey. Now, this mother has been displaying the skills and positive attachment with her child to the degree that all concerned community agencies have signed off on services due to confidence in her abilities.
There are literally dozens of success stories — we are so proud to be able to provide this service in our community.