On Friday morning Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop attended the Lighthouse to announce a $149,100 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to help support the kitchen, dining room, and staffing for the community meal program at the Lighthouse.
The grant will help the Lighthouse purchase kitchen equipment, dining room furniture, and hire an additional cook to assist the chef and kitchen manager with the community meal program. It will also provide funding for a post-secondary student to prepare, report, and evaluate the community meal program at the end of this year.
“The pandemic has really opened our eyes to the need for meal distribution in our community and this grant will provide Lighthouse staff and volunteers with the ability to meet demands,” Dunlop said.
“I’m deeply happy to acknowledge the promising future of the Lighthouse community here in Orillia with the newly renovated kitchen and the meal program that is sure to make a difference.”
OTF Simcoe Representative Tammy Deschambault echoed those sentiments.
“The result (of the grant) benefits people in the community, my own community, which is amazing,” she said.
“This helps people make it through challenging times and is ensuring that the Lighthouse is able to continue to keep finding the light and helping to build a healthier more vibrant community.”
Linda Goodall, the executive director of the Lighthouse, thanked the OTF for the generous grant as it helps the Lighthouse support the nearly 605 participants who have been sheltered over the last year.
“We thank you for believing in us and trusting us with the funds that will serve the vulnerable,” she said.
“People who are usually experiencing homelessness often have trauma involved. So, to be able to come into a place where they are welcomed, they can breathe, it’s a part of their wellness and health.”
Goodall noted that people will begin moving into the Lighthouse’s supportive housing on Aug. 23, and shelter participants who are currently residing in hotels will move into the new Queen Street shelter on Aug. 30.
During current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Lighthouse will be able to shelter 36 participants, and 60 once restrictions are eased.