It started with a donation and gelato.
When the Glass Lighting Gallery was collecting money for Building Hope during last year’s Starry Night art studio tour in downtown Orillia, anyone who made a donation to the campaign to build a new homeless shelter received some free gelato. Tom Gibbs, Bruno Mandic and their wives were visiting the area and forked over some cash.
The two members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), District Council 46, became interested in the cause and went for a tour of the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter. That led to the union donating $1,000 last year.
Thursday morning, Gibbs and Mandic returned to town with another cheque, this one worth 10 times more.
The IUPAT district’s golf tournament last month raised $10,000 for Building Hope.
“We do help communities, and this time we decided to help this one,” said Mandic, business manager and secretary-treasurer with District Council 46, which covers all of Ontario. “We work in communities and we like to support communities.”
It’s not only something they like to do, he added. They look at it as a matter of responsibility.
“It’s a beautiful country, it’s a beautiful city, but there are people in need. So, we have to help.”
Lighthouse and Building Hope officials were happy to receive the big boost Thursday.
“There are always clients in need, but we don’t always have the resources to meet those needs, so relationships like this are very important,” said Lynn Thomas, development co-ordinator with Building Hope. “If people see the need, they realize this is a good partnership and they want to give back.”
There are plenty of personal pledges coming in for the campaign, and while every amount matters, a big donation like the one from the IUPAT is particularly helpful, Thomas said, because money needs to be in the bank to get started on construction of the new shelter on Queen Street.
Mandic and Gibbs, business representative with District Council 46, told Thomas the union’s donation was “just the beginning.” The IUPAT has committed to offering labour, in-kind support and more money.
To learn more about Building Hope, and to make a donation, contact Thomas at 705-329-2265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.