Door of Hope in the red

Olivia Balisky (left) and Alyssa Timmer were two members of the choir Eclipse who entertained at the Door of Hope fundraising banquet Nov. 4. Eclipse will be singing the national anthem at the Battle of the Badges hockey game later this month.

By Rhonda Cooper

The 17th annual Door of Hope fundraising banquet held Nov. 4 at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre was not only a time of fellowship, but also a reality check for the organization’s financial situation.

The organization is directly feeling the negative impact of the local economy with a $40,000 drop in donations.

Board member Merv Johnson revealed the situation during his address banquet.

“We are very proud of what we do,” he said. “We heard earlier how people can be taken from nothing and poverty to a new life. Recently we have gone through some really hard times.”

The drop has forced the organization into arrears of $150,000 and because it is behind in its taxes there is a lien on the building.

“We hope we would raise enough tonight and in the next while to be debt free,” he said. “That’s a lot to ask for but we need the help and we have a big God who is there to help us.”

Director Henry Clarke is confident the money will be realized.

“We had a very good turnout tonight,” he said. “There is a good cross section of people here and it is very good to see the young, married couples here tonight. God wants us to be here so I am confident we will get the funds needed.”

Clarke indicated the first thing they would like to do is pay their taxes so they can continue to be good citizens of the city.

Staff members of the Door of Hope shared a number of success stories with the audience as their personal highlights of the year. Some of which included 45 people gaining employment or returning to school, a family leaving a long-term program with the father now successfully employed and the children back at home, a former alcoholic now nine months sober and the behavioural changes in a small child from scratching faces, to sitting quietly on an adult’s lap.

Keynote speaker Bill Hall, director of the North Battleford Food Bank and executive director of Food Banks Saskatchewan, described the Door of Hope as a place of light.

“We live in what I call the McDonalds society. I want it, I want it now and then I am done with it,” he said. “There are people who volunteer their time and support a cause for a while, maybe two or three years… Organizations like the Door of Hope are set up for the long haul so there is always a need for volunteers and support.”

While he acknowledged helping can get pretty tiring and there are a lot of organizations out there with their hands out, it is important to realize help in any manner is important for those who rely on places such as the Door of Hope.

A new program was introduced by Clarke that night. On the tables were cards envelopes for either people to set up either monthly donations of a set amount or to make a one-time donation to the organization.

As well, there were “I want to be a friend of the Door of Hope” cards, where guest could place their email address as a means of staying informed of the Door’s needs.

“People often think a mission as being overseas, but a mission is simply reaching out to people in need,” he said. “We are a mission to the people of Meadow Lake.”

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