The Rotary Club Of Festival City
President:  Bill Helmuth
Minutes of the meeting of July 30, 2013
Guests: Connor Rivers exchange student going to Sweden and Charlotte Coates exchange student going to Norway. Lisa Stanley is our guest speaker.
Door Prize: David Moore donated an expensive mystery prize won by Dianne Yundt.
1.The Champagne Edition of Bingo: Sunday August 4. Volunteers are reminded to report to the bingo hall at 5 PM for pre-bingo preparations.
2.Pounds of Coffee: Randy Matthews still has bags of coffee available for sale for $15 per pound. Please contact Randy for El Salvadoran ground coffee or beans.
3.“Off To School Smiling” is a fundraiser operated by House of Blessing to buy schools supplies for children returning to school in September. Donna Hinz will be collecting donations during August to support this worthy program.
4.Rotary Club of Goderich is looking for tent space for use at the plowing match to sell tickets for a car raffle.
Weekly Duty Roster:
Date:    Prize Donor      Prayer Reader    Speaker Thanker   Club Greeter
Aug 6    Dianne Yundt    Jack West              Wayne Young      Ken Hansen
Aug 13  Bill Helmuth      Wayne Young      Jean Aitcheson      Vincent Hill
Aug 20  Brian Rivers      Jean Aitcheson      Laura Pogson        Donna Hinz
Guest Speaker: Peter Moreton introduced Lisa Stanley from the House of Blessing. She is the development coordinator in charge of fundraising and sponsorships. Lisa told us some of the history of the House of Blessing and what happens at the charity. Florence Kehl and her husband Norman started Operation Blessing in 1983 at a location above a restaurant in market square. After a fire destroyed the facility in 1984 it moved to a house on Wellington Street and renamed House of Blessing in 1988. In 2002 the House of Blessing moved to its current location on Erie Street where it has 9000 square feet of space. Florence retired in 2009.
The House of Blessing is not just a food bank. It is a place where those in need can find help. Food, clothing, furniture, or counseling for various problems is provided. It is accessed by single mothers and their children, women leaving abusive relationships, or divorced people finding it difficult to provide for their needs because they also have to pay child support. The working poor, those unemployed due to lack of education, those with a physical or mental disability, those affected by layoffs, or addictions can find help.  Last year the House of Blessing helped over 5600 people, and distributed 25000 articles of clothing and 1200 pieces of furniture.
The House of Blessing staff also provide various courses such as “Cooking on a Budget” to teach about food safety and how to cook simple meals. The “Home With a Heart” program teaches homemaking skills, and Budget Counseling teaches clients how to budget their finances.
A number of fundraising events take place over the year including Community Bowl Painting, an Art Auction, Thanksgiving Food Drive, and the Empty Bowls Fundraiser.
The food bank is particularly short of food items in the spring and summer. Some food is donated by food retailers and farmers donate hogs, eggs, and milk. Fresh vegetables and fruit often come from the venders at the Farmers Market. Donated hogs have to be processed before distribution and this is an extra cost for the food bank’s limited funds.
Our club is participating in the “Off to School Smiling” project. Funds donated to this program provide new school supplies, clothing, shoes and a backpack for elementary aged children. The program is being extended to high school students this year.
The House of Blessing receives grants from various agencies as well as individual donors and with the help of 280 volunteers it can extend a helping hand to those in need in the community.
To find out more about the House of Blessing visit
Lisa was thanked by Louise Spandler.