Hamilton Mountain charities struggle with pandemic fallout

Community Jun 01, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

For Donna Jenkins the past six months have been a roller-coaster of events and emotions.

In December, the founder of the pet fostering charity Zachary’s Paws for Healing had to put her work aside when her husband had a heart attack.

On the day he came home in March she went to hospital for what she thought was a routine chest X-ray that revealed a spot on her lungs.

It was lung cancer.

A month later she had part of her lung removed and has been recuperating at home since May 3.

“I’m actually cancer free,” Jenkins said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The news was not so good for Zachary’s Paws.

While Jenkins was battling cancer the coronavirus pandemic struck and the charity saw its donations from individuals, groups and businesses that totalled as much as $5,000 per month fall to zero.

“Donations just dried up,” said Jenkins who noted their volunteers stepped up, raised $4,000 online and kept the pet fostering program going while their pet therapy and hospital visitation programs have been on hold since March.

“They’re a great group,” Jenkins said.

The drop in donations also forced Zachary’s to close its Concession Street office that was opened in January.

It’s the street’s first coronavirus pandemic casualty.

Jenkins said they were spending about $4,000 a month on the office and utilities and they wanted to put that money toward pet care such as medicine, Kitty Litter, leashes and other items.

The office closed May 31.

Zachary’s provides free food (thanks to a donation from Royal Canin), meds and other items for the pets it has in 23 foster homes in and around the Hamilton area.

The dogs and cats belong to people who must go into hospital and have no one to look after them, people who are homeless or to women who are seeking to escape an abusive relationship and have gone to a shelter that doesn’t take pets.

Zachary’s reunites the pets with their owners when circumstances permit.

Last year the charity fostered about 1,000 pets.

That has fallen to a few hundred so far this year.

Jenkins, who plans to resume running the charity in July, said she’s hopeful the donations will return, and they can maintain their service online.

“I’m a very optimistic person,” she said.

At Neighbour to Neighbour Centre (https://www.n2ncentre.com), the pandemic has forced them to cancel almost all programming except their food bank and home food delivery service.

Counselling services are being done online.

“We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have,” said N2N executive director Denise Arkell, who noted their staff in groups of eight are doing the work of the 65 volunteers who would normally be in the food bank and warehouse.

All the volunteers were sent home in March.

Arkell said they have not determined yet what will happen to their annual August golf tournament that usually brings in $90,000 for the centre.

The event could be modified to include physical distancing, moved or cancelled.

While the food supply is healthy right now, Arkell said they have begun to make contingency plans if major fall and Christmastime food raisers at St. Thomas More Catholic high school and Redeemer University plus the Stuff the Bus and the OPP food drives either don’t take place or are done in a limited way.

“Collectively they raise 125,000 pounds of food which is 12 per cent of our total,” Arkell said.

If those food raisers don’t take place Arkell said N2N will have to look at ways of raising money from the community so they can buy food “and we would have to reduce the amount of food, we give to people; that would be a last resort.”

On the positive side, Arkell said they are getting more food donations than they would normally receive this time of year and they are asking for monetary donations so they can buy food.

The number of families visiting the food bank has fallen from 1,200 to about 1,000 households a month which Arkell attributes to a reluctance by clients to come out during the pandemic.

She expects those numbers to climb in the fall due to rising unemployment numbers.

The current situation has created a big demand for home deliveries from the food bank.

Arkell noted they made 34 deliveries in April 2019 and 111 deliveries this past April.

At the Interval House women’s shelter on the west Mountain, executive director Nancy Smith noted the pandemic has forced them to cancel or postpone fundraising events.

The annual Drives for Lives golf tournament has been moved from June 3 to Sept 23 and Smith isn’t sure if it will happen.

“Who’s going to be able to sponsor it because businesses have been closed or challenged with their own demands?” Smith said.

The golf tournament in support of Jared’s Place legal advocacy centre has also been pushed from July to Aug. 19.

In both cases there will be no post tournament dinner of mingling.

“It’s golf and go home basically,” Smith said.

Interval House also must decide soon on what to do about their annual chili fest that is slated for September in support of the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre that normally attracts 200 people.

“We have to decide do we cancel or find alternate ways to do that,” Smith said.

She noted they are trying to find ways to do non-traditional online fundraising in the wake of the pandemic.

Smith said the community has been responding and making inquiries on how they can help.

“Folks are just so generous,” she said.

Smith said they must fundraise $680,000 to make up the shortfall from the province which she added has not increased its core funding since 2007

The need for physical distancing has also forced the shelter to operate at 75 per cent capacity, which means only 19 of their 26 beds are available to women and their children who are fleeing abusive relationships.

At the Dr. Bob Kemp Centre for Hospice Palliative Care, executive director Clare Freeman noted they usually hold four major fundraisers each year that raises about $500,000 but the pandemic has dropped that to one, a virtual hike for hospice, that is slated for June 13.

Freeman said they raised $76,000 less this past April than they did in April 2019.

“That’s quite significant,” said Freeman, who pointed out families have put off holding memorial services that often include asking the public to support the hospice or other charities in the name of a lost loved one.

Freeman said they sent home their 180 volunteers in March and the 55 staff at the hospice are looking after everything from screening visitors (which are still permitted), to cooking and doing extra cleaning.

Like most other charities in the city, Freeman said they are looking to make use of any government or private foundation support that is available to them.

“I have faith we’ll get through it,” she said. “In Hamilton, we’re used to mustering through tough times.”

The public has come through in a big way for the Cancer Assistance Program.

Executive director Debbie Logel-Butler said she was concerned when the pandemic hit back in March and how it would affect their sixth annual CARE walk that became an online activity.

Amazingly, Logel-Butler said the May 23 event raised $64,000, nearly $20,000 more than their goal with pledges still coming in.

CAP has also garnered another $29,000 in donations through a combined mail-out and email communication to their list of supporters.

“I’m absolutely astounded by the generosity,” said Logel-Butler, who noted the online hike enabled them to draw participants from outside the Hamilton area.

She expects their August golf tournament to go forward, although with some limitations and restrictions such as no post-tournament dinner.

Meanwhile, CAP continues to provide their free services online and by phone.

Volunteers are checking in with clients by phone and some others are delivering food, nutritional supplements and incontinence products to clients.

Their free rides to cancer-related medical appointments have been put on hold indefinitely.

CAP does not receive any sustained funding from government.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to check with Mountain charities to see how the pandemic has affected them and changed how they fundraise.

Hamilton Mountain charities struggle with pandemic fallout

Fundraisers moved or shifted online #givingback

Community Jun 01, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

For Donna Jenkins the past six months have been a roller-coaster of events and emotions.

In December, the founder of the pet fostering charity Zachary’s Paws for Healing had to put her work aside when her husband had a heart attack.

On the day he came home in March she went to hospital for what she thought was a routine chest X-ray that revealed a spot on her lungs.

It was lung cancer.

Related Content

A month later she had part of her lung removed and has been recuperating at home since May 3.

“I’m actually cancer free,” Jenkins said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The news was not so good for Zachary’s Paws.

While Jenkins was battling cancer the coronavirus pandemic struck and the charity saw its donations from individuals, groups and businesses that totalled as much as $5,000 per month fall to zero.

“Donations just dried up,” said Jenkins who noted their volunteers stepped up, raised $4,000 online and kept the pet fostering program going while their pet therapy and hospital visitation programs have been on hold since March.

“They’re a great group,” Jenkins said.

The drop in donations also forced Zachary’s to close its Concession Street office that was opened in January.

It’s the street’s first coronavirus pandemic casualty.

Jenkins said they were spending about $4,000 a month on the office and utilities and they wanted to put that money toward pet care such as medicine, Kitty Litter, leashes and other items.

The office closed May 31.

Zachary’s provides free food (thanks to a donation from Royal Canin), meds and other items for the pets it has in 23 foster homes in and around the Hamilton area.

The dogs and cats belong to people who must go into hospital and have no one to look after them, people who are homeless or to women who are seeking to escape an abusive relationship and have gone to a shelter that doesn’t take pets.

Zachary’s reunites the pets with their owners when circumstances permit.

Last year the charity fostered about 1,000 pets.

That has fallen to a few hundred so far this year.

Jenkins, who plans to resume running the charity in July, said she’s hopeful the donations will return, and they can maintain their service online.

“I’m a very optimistic person,” she said.

At Neighbour to Neighbour Centre (https://www.n2ncentre.com), the pandemic has forced them to cancel almost all programming except their food bank and home food delivery service.

Counselling services are being done online.

“We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have,” said N2N executive director Denise Arkell, who noted their staff in groups of eight are doing the work of the 65 volunteers who would normally be in the food bank and warehouse.

All the volunteers were sent home in March.

Arkell said they have not determined yet what will happen to their annual August golf tournament that usually brings in $90,000 for the centre.

The event could be modified to include physical distancing, moved or cancelled.

While the food supply is healthy right now, Arkell said they have begun to make contingency plans if major fall and Christmastime food raisers at St. Thomas More Catholic high school and Redeemer University plus the Stuff the Bus and the OPP food drives either don’t take place or are done in a limited way.

“Collectively they raise 125,000 pounds of food which is 12 per cent of our total,” Arkell said.

If those food raisers don’t take place Arkell said N2N will have to look at ways of raising money from the community so they can buy food “and we would have to reduce the amount of food, we give to people; that would be a last resort.”

On the positive side, Arkell said they are getting more food donations than they would normally receive this time of year and they are asking for monetary donations so they can buy food.

The number of families visiting the food bank has fallen from 1,200 to about 1,000 households a month which Arkell attributes to a reluctance by clients to come out during the pandemic.

She expects those numbers to climb in the fall due to rising unemployment numbers.

The current situation has created a big demand for home deliveries from the food bank.

Arkell noted they made 34 deliveries in April 2019 and 111 deliveries this past April.

At the Interval House women’s shelter on the west Mountain, executive director Nancy Smith noted the pandemic has forced them to cancel or postpone fundraising events.

The annual Drives for Lives golf tournament has been moved from June 3 to Sept 23 and Smith isn’t sure if it will happen.

“Who’s going to be able to sponsor it because businesses have been closed or challenged with their own demands?” Smith said.

The golf tournament in support of Jared’s Place legal advocacy centre has also been pushed from July to Aug. 19.

In both cases there will be no post tournament dinner of mingling.

“It’s golf and go home basically,” Smith said.

Interval House also must decide soon on what to do about their annual chili fest that is slated for September in support of the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre that normally attracts 200 people.

“We have to decide do we cancel or find alternate ways to do that,” Smith said.

She noted they are trying to find ways to do non-traditional online fundraising in the wake of the pandemic.

Smith said the community has been responding and making inquiries on how they can help.

“Folks are just so generous,” she said.

Smith said they must fundraise $680,000 to make up the shortfall from the province which she added has not increased its core funding since 2007

The need for physical distancing has also forced the shelter to operate at 75 per cent capacity, which means only 19 of their 26 beds are available to women and their children who are fleeing abusive relationships.

At the Dr. Bob Kemp Centre for Hospice Palliative Care, executive director Clare Freeman noted they usually hold four major fundraisers each year that raises about $500,000 but the pandemic has dropped that to one, a virtual hike for hospice, that is slated for June 13.

Freeman said they raised $76,000 less this past April than they did in April 2019.

“That’s quite significant,” said Freeman, who pointed out families have put off holding memorial services that often include asking the public to support the hospice or other charities in the name of a lost loved one.

Freeman said they sent home their 180 volunteers in March and the 55 staff at the hospice are looking after everything from screening visitors (which are still permitted), to cooking and doing extra cleaning.

Like most other charities in the city, Freeman said they are looking to make use of any government or private foundation support that is available to them.

“I have faith we’ll get through it,” she said. “In Hamilton, we’re used to mustering through tough times.”

The public has come through in a big way for the Cancer Assistance Program.

Executive director Debbie Logel-Butler said she was concerned when the pandemic hit back in March and how it would affect their sixth annual CARE walk that became an online activity.

Amazingly, Logel-Butler said the May 23 event raised $64,000, nearly $20,000 more than their goal with pledges still coming in.

CAP has also garnered another $29,000 in donations through a combined mail-out and email communication to their list of supporters.

“I’m absolutely astounded by the generosity,” said Logel-Butler, who noted the online hike enabled them to draw participants from outside the Hamilton area.

She expects their August golf tournament to go forward, although with some limitations and restrictions such as no post-tournament dinner.

Meanwhile, CAP continues to provide their free services online and by phone.

Volunteers are checking in with clients by phone and some others are delivering food, nutritional supplements and incontinence products to clients.

Their free rides to cancer-related medical appointments have been put on hold indefinitely.

CAP does not receive any sustained funding from government.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to check with Mountain charities to see how the pandemic has affected them and changed how they fundraise.

Hamilton Mountain charities struggle with pandemic fallout

Fundraisers moved or shifted online #givingback

Community Jun 01, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

For Donna Jenkins the past six months have been a roller-coaster of events and emotions.

In December, the founder of the pet fostering charity Zachary’s Paws for Healing had to put her work aside when her husband had a heart attack.

On the day he came home in March she went to hospital for what she thought was a routine chest X-ray that revealed a spot on her lungs.

It was lung cancer.

Related Content

A month later she had part of her lung removed and has been recuperating at home since May 3.

“I’m actually cancer free,” Jenkins said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The news was not so good for Zachary’s Paws.

While Jenkins was battling cancer the coronavirus pandemic struck and the charity saw its donations from individuals, groups and businesses that totalled as much as $5,000 per month fall to zero.

“Donations just dried up,” said Jenkins who noted their volunteers stepped up, raised $4,000 online and kept the pet fostering program going while their pet therapy and hospital visitation programs have been on hold since March.

“They’re a great group,” Jenkins said.

The drop in donations also forced Zachary’s to close its Concession Street office that was opened in January.

It’s the street’s first coronavirus pandemic casualty.

Jenkins said they were spending about $4,000 a month on the office and utilities and they wanted to put that money toward pet care such as medicine, Kitty Litter, leashes and other items.

The office closed May 31.

Zachary’s provides free food (thanks to a donation from Royal Canin), meds and other items for the pets it has in 23 foster homes in and around the Hamilton area.

The dogs and cats belong to people who must go into hospital and have no one to look after them, people who are homeless or to women who are seeking to escape an abusive relationship and have gone to a shelter that doesn’t take pets.

Zachary’s reunites the pets with their owners when circumstances permit.

Last year the charity fostered about 1,000 pets.

That has fallen to a few hundred so far this year.

Jenkins, who plans to resume running the charity in July, said she’s hopeful the donations will return, and they can maintain their service online.

“I’m a very optimistic person,” she said.

At Neighbour to Neighbour Centre (https://www.n2ncentre.com), the pandemic has forced them to cancel almost all programming except their food bank and home food delivery service.

Counselling services are being done online.

“We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have,” said N2N executive director Denise Arkell, who noted their staff in groups of eight are doing the work of the 65 volunteers who would normally be in the food bank and warehouse.

All the volunteers were sent home in March.

Arkell said they have not determined yet what will happen to their annual August golf tournament that usually brings in $90,000 for the centre.

The event could be modified to include physical distancing, moved or cancelled.

While the food supply is healthy right now, Arkell said they have begun to make contingency plans if major fall and Christmastime food raisers at St. Thomas More Catholic high school and Redeemer University plus the Stuff the Bus and the OPP food drives either don’t take place or are done in a limited way.

“Collectively they raise 125,000 pounds of food which is 12 per cent of our total,” Arkell said.

If those food raisers don’t take place Arkell said N2N will have to look at ways of raising money from the community so they can buy food “and we would have to reduce the amount of food, we give to people; that would be a last resort.”

On the positive side, Arkell said they are getting more food donations than they would normally receive this time of year and they are asking for monetary donations so they can buy food.

The number of families visiting the food bank has fallen from 1,200 to about 1,000 households a month which Arkell attributes to a reluctance by clients to come out during the pandemic.

She expects those numbers to climb in the fall due to rising unemployment numbers.

The current situation has created a big demand for home deliveries from the food bank.

Arkell noted they made 34 deliveries in April 2019 and 111 deliveries this past April.

At the Interval House women’s shelter on the west Mountain, executive director Nancy Smith noted the pandemic has forced them to cancel or postpone fundraising events.

The annual Drives for Lives golf tournament has been moved from June 3 to Sept 23 and Smith isn’t sure if it will happen.

“Who’s going to be able to sponsor it because businesses have been closed or challenged with their own demands?” Smith said.

The golf tournament in support of Jared’s Place legal advocacy centre has also been pushed from July to Aug. 19.

In both cases there will be no post tournament dinner of mingling.

“It’s golf and go home basically,” Smith said.

Interval House also must decide soon on what to do about their annual chili fest that is slated for September in support of the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre that normally attracts 200 people.

“We have to decide do we cancel or find alternate ways to do that,” Smith said.

She noted they are trying to find ways to do non-traditional online fundraising in the wake of the pandemic.

Smith said the community has been responding and making inquiries on how they can help.

“Folks are just so generous,” she said.

Smith said they must fundraise $680,000 to make up the shortfall from the province which she added has not increased its core funding since 2007

The need for physical distancing has also forced the shelter to operate at 75 per cent capacity, which means only 19 of their 26 beds are available to women and their children who are fleeing abusive relationships.

At the Dr. Bob Kemp Centre for Hospice Palliative Care, executive director Clare Freeman noted they usually hold four major fundraisers each year that raises about $500,000 but the pandemic has dropped that to one, a virtual hike for hospice, that is slated for June 13.

Freeman said they raised $76,000 less this past April than they did in April 2019.

“That’s quite significant,” said Freeman, who pointed out families have put off holding memorial services that often include asking the public to support the hospice or other charities in the name of a lost loved one.

Freeman said they sent home their 180 volunteers in March and the 55 staff at the hospice are looking after everything from screening visitors (which are still permitted), to cooking and doing extra cleaning.

Like most other charities in the city, Freeman said they are looking to make use of any government or private foundation support that is available to them.

“I have faith we’ll get through it,” she said. “In Hamilton, we’re used to mustering through tough times.”

The public has come through in a big way for the Cancer Assistance Program.

Executive director Debbie Logel-Butler said she was concerned when the pandemic hit back in March and how it would affect their sixth annual CARE walk that became an online activity.

Amazingly, Logel-Butler said the May 23 event raised $64,000, nearly $20,000 more than their goal with pledges still coming in.

CAP has also garnered another $29,000 in donations through a combined mail-out and email communication to their list of supporters.

“I’m absolutely astounded by the generosity,” said Logel-Butler, who noted the online hike enabled them to draw participants from outside the Hamilton area.

She expects their August golf tournament to go forward, although with some limitations and restrictions such as no post-tournament dinner.

Meanwhile, CAP continues to provide their free services online and by phone.

Volunteers are checking in with clients by phone and some others are delivering food, nutritional supplements and incontinence products to clients.

Their free rides to cancer-related medical appointments have been put on hold indefinitely.

CAP does not receive any sustained funding from government.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to check with Mountain charities to see how the pandemic has affected them and changed how they fundraise.