If you’re closing up your cottage, or even just doing an end-of-summer clean-out of your pantry, the businesses of H.O.L.D. (Hillside, Oxtongue Lake, Dwight) want you to donate your unopened nonperishables and toiletries in support of local food banks.
For the third year in a row, they are encouraging seasonal residents to think about the less fortunate in the communities where they enjoy their summers.
“There is a lot of need in the community once the heyday of summer is past,” said Karen Piovaty, owner of the Oxtongue Craft Cabin. “The firemen do a food drive toward Christmas but there’s a lot of need not just at the holidays.”
H.O.L.D. members thought that cottage closing would be an ideal time to see if they could gather donations. “Maybe they would like to leave some things behind instead of taking them home,” said Piovaty, adding, “Awareness is number one. In the summer, everything is so flush that I think for a lot of people who don’t live here year round, it’s hard to comprehend that poverty is a huge issue in Muskoka.”
Piovaty said she was stunned to read a YWCA Muskoka report on women a few years ago that highlighted the degree of poverty in Lake of Bays and across Muskoka.
“I was shocked. You come here in the summer and things are thriving, lines are long and you have to make reservations,” said Piovaty. “Not too many people think about what are people doing the rest of the year? Not all of the workers are students going back to college.”
Donated items need to be unopened and nonperishable. Unopened toiletries are welcomed, too. All can be dropped off at one of four locations until October 16: Dwight Garden Centre (2876 Highway 60, Dwight), Erika’s (2832 Highway 60, Dwight), Oxtongue Craft Cabin (1073 Fox Point Road, Dwight), and White Birches Cottages (1016 Oxtongue Lake Road, Oxtongue Lake – leave donations by the office door).
“It’s not just for the cottagers,” said Piovaty. “Guests at housekeeping resorts who brought food up and didn’t use it all, that’s another opportunity throughout the whole summer not just at the crunch of closing.” Locals who are clearing pantries of unused, unopened, and unexpired items are welcome to donate as well, and the group will take monetary donations and pass them on to the two charities receiving the goods: The Table Soup Kitchen and The Salvation Army food banks. “Whatever people can donate would be fantastic.”
If you’d like to help, but can’t get donations to one of the drop off locations during business hours, contact Karen Piovaty at 705-635-1602 to make alternate arrangements.
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