Service Projects Director Bill Egnatoff introduced today's meeting.  This is one of the Club Members' favourite meetings - when we award deserving community groups grant funding.  This time around each group awarded has a Rotarian to act as liaison to help enhance our relationships.
Heather Nogrady is liaison to Lunch by George (LBG) and remarked that it is a pleasure to introduce an organization that not only addresses a great need, but fits in with the values of our club and Rotary as a whole.  Heather introduced Aveleigh Kyle.
Aveleigh is Co-chair of Lunch by George, and Outreach by George.  She told us that since the Covid crisis began they have seen their number of people serviced double. The usual method of delivery had to be abandoned in favour of take out only.  Aveleigh also worries about what will happen when the cold weather comes and there is no warm place to share a meal.  LBG also incurred increased costs of delivery - most of their volunteers are older folks who are vulnerable to Covid, so two staff had to be hired to get the work done.  Of course PPE has had to be purchased to make things safe for everyone. In addition to serving more people, Aveleigh told us the number of young people being served has increased.  As well as distributing food, sleeping bags, warm clothing and tarps are being distributed to people who are sleeping outside for a variety of reasons. Aveleigh played a short video (in verse no less) that was used as a contest entry - this video showed what LBG does every day.
Elizabeth Cohoe is liaison for Kingston 4 Paws Service dogs (K4P).   Our relationship began in 2016, when they received their first grant. This grant today is their third grant of $4,000 which goes toward training and raising a puppy, part of the $20,000 that is needed to fully train a service dog.  K4P has also helped us by being present at many of our events, like the Nut Drive. Being there also helps the puppies' training. They have also helped promote the auction on CKWS TV.
K4P's mission is to train and provide service dogs for people with PTSD and other mental health issues, or Autism.  To find out more, go to
Elizabeth welcomed Sue Markos and Dinah. Sue and her husband relocated to Kingston about 3 years ago.  She and her husband have fostered 3 dogs, included Dinah, the dog we are sponsoring.
Sue thanked the club for our support.  Dinah is 9 weeks old.  Funds assist with Dinah's feeding, vet care, and training for 18 to 20 months. At about 16 months of age K4P will decide what the dog will do and who she will go to. K4P also provides seizure response dogs, but that training is longer because of the nature of the work. Because of Covid, their fundraising has been affected, plus the usual classroom training is not possible, so they've had to find new ways to train because the crowded public spaces that the dog is exposed to are simply not there.  K4P also provides support to dogs and owners for the complete cycle of placement.  They have 63 dogs in the program now (Dinah is #64).  Trainers reach out on a regular basis to see if training needs to be refreshed.
Hopefully we can meet Sue and Dinah in person at a meeting in the future.
Greta DuBois is liaison for Kingston Interval House (KIH). Greta was struck by the simplicity of their request but also the scope of their actions.  KIH requested funds for an industrial washer and dryer to sanitize clothing donations that they receive for clients and their children. KIH's work falls right in line with Rotary's values, but what they do most is empower people. There is no greater gift to a person than empowerment - it pays dividends throughout their lives. Leigh Martens has been working for KIH for 15 years, starting as a frontline crisis counsellor.  Leigh is passionate about what she does, and is always looking for ways to improve KIH.
KIH has been around since 1975, providing services that have changed a lot over the years.  They provide emergency shelter at their facility, outreach programs to help their clients receive counselling, their second stage facility which provides geared to income housing for a year, and much more.  Because of Covid, education has gone on line, and their recently re-launched volunteer program had to adapt. Volunteers sort donations in a safe facility, but clothing donations need to be sanitized.  Our funds will make it possible to make it easy and safe for clients to get clothes without having to go out.  Another benefit is that a laundry pair will be re-purposed to the second stage facility so that there will be laundry on each floor, making it safer for the residents because they will not have to be in close contact with as many people.
KIH supports hundreds of women, and this has not stopped because of Covid - the staff took about a minute to digest the changes required, then got right back to work.  Our donation will make that work just a little bit easier.
Elizabeth - Sue, what's it like having to give up your fostered dog?
Sue - I've fostered two dogs, Walter and Humphrey for 8 or 9 weeks until about 18 months. It's difficult raising a puppy then having them leave you, but it's so rewarding seeing  the difference these dogs make in people's live - they literally open up the recipients lives.  It's like sending a child to university - the pride and joy of seeming them succeed is my greatest reward.
Bill - let's not forget that some of these funds come from our work at Bingo.  It's an important source of funds.
John Gale - Leigh, how has Covid impacted your service needs at KIH?
Leigh - it was eerily quiet at first, something that even Kingston Police took notice of.  The thought was that women were just hunkering down and going into survival mode with abusive partners - that's a scary thought. Request have started to rise and the ways to support the women and their children have had to adapt. Shelter numbers had to be adjusted for social distancing, but many women were choosing the lesser of two evils and staying with their partners.  Groups are now being done with children via Zoom.
Sue - in our case, group fundraising was curtailed, as were events where people came out to meet the dogs.  But demand has gone up a lot because of increased mental health issues. AND, breeders weren't breeding dogs.
Greta - can I foster a dog?
Sue - Absolutely, dog training experience is not required.  Trainers work with the dogs, and fosters learn with the dogs.  This is the only 24/7 volunteer experience out there!  It's fun but demanding.
Bill - in closing, thanks to all for the great work you do.  I leave today thinking this is why I joined Rotary.  Our new initiative mini-grants are closing November 23rd, we have 1 application so far.