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Volunteers are the driving force behind Building Hope campaign

'Many people working behind the scenes' to ensure community services hub is built


A dedicated team of almost 50 volunteers has been quietly but diligently working for many months “Building Hope”, steering a grass-roots effort that will culminate in a new community services hub rising from fallow land on Queen Street.

Those volunteers are divided into committees that each have specific responsibilities. They meet regularly to ensure the success of Building Hope, which includes a new homeless shelter for men, women, youth and families – including many on-site supports – in addition to a supportive housing facility.

Recently, the entire team gathered for a breakfast event, where each committee shared their status and successes and talked about the progress being made.

“It was important to get our team together to let each individual volunteer know there are many people working behind the scenes to make Building Hope a reality,” said Glenn Wagner, who co-chairs the fund-raising effort with Charlene Taylor.

“We meet as teams, be it the Building & Design Team, Service Delivery, Finance, PR or Fund Raising, but we seldom get together as an entire group, so the number of individual volunteers, and efforts of each team, often go unseen,” said Wagner. “It was fantastic to see the group at one time at one place to update, encourage and challenge.”

Wagner encouraged the volunteers to do just that – to give more. He asked them to rally support for the cause and to spread the word in the community about the need.

To date, almost half of the $9.6 million required for the supportive housing component and the new shelter/soup kitchen has been raised. Anticipation is building in advance of shovels hitting the dirt this year as construction begins on the supportive housing facility, which is fully funded thanks to the province, the County of Simcoe and the City of Orillia.

However, officials continue to work hard to raise money; about $5 million is still required to build the shelter and soup kitchen.

“We all need to remember that the Lighthouse, and the Building Hope Community Services Hub, is not the solution to homelessness,” said Wagner. “We are a safe place to stay so we can help people work on a solution to their homelessness.”

For more information about our team or to book a presentation about Building Hope for your business or organization, contact Lynn Thomas, Development Coordinator for The Lighthouse and Building Hope at