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Information Orillia puts out a call for much-needed volunteers

Agency, resurrected by volunteers, needs help with office administration, database collection, fundraising, website building and income tax preparation
michael gollinger information orillia
Michael Gollinger is chairing a new board whose goal is to breathe new life into Information Orillia. He is looking for volunteers to help the effort. Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters File Photo

Information Orillia is looking for volunteers.

The fledgling organization, which reopened in December on a shoestring budget, is hosting a training session for interested volunteers Thursday.

The agency, which is housed inside the Orillia Public Library, abruptly closed its doors in October.

Citing budget issues and an inability to become financially sustainable, the board of directors closed up the 50-year-old entity and held a garage sale in which much of the office furniture and equipment were sold off at bargain-basement prices.

All the while, others were rallying to help save the entity which has deep roots in the community.

During budget deliberations in November, a small, grass-roots group, led by Michael Gollinger, made a pitch to city council for cash to keep the organization afloat. He was joined by retired accountant and former business owner Andreas Simic, and former Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital CEO Elisabeth Riley.

In the end, days later, council opted not to fund the agency.

But Gollinger was not surprised, nor dissuaded and vowed to re-open.

Thanks to donations from community members and the help of volunteers, he made good on his promise, re-opening the office on Dec. 2 - the same day council opted not to provide funding.

Now that the Christmas break is over, Gollinger said “things are starting to pick up.” 

He said thanks to news stories about the group’s bid to resurrect Information Orillia, “we have had a number of people volunteer either on the board or as front-line staff.”

But to ensure the doors are open as often as possible, more volunteers are needed, he said.

With that in mind, a volunteer information session will he held Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Information Orillia office inside the library (36 Mississaga St. W.)

Gollinger said people are needed to help assist in areas related to office administration, database collection, fundraising, and website building as well as income tax preparation.

Training is provided.

If you are interested, attend the session. For more information, call 705-326-7743 or visit the website,

In the meantime, Gollinger said the board is working on its strategic plan. 

“Once we have that in place we will be putting together a budget and start fundraising in earnest,” he said, noting the aim is to rely on volunteers as much as possible.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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