Carolyn Thompson Goddard

Record Contributor

MAPLE RIDGE – Despite a return to wintery weather the day before, the March Madness and Linking Hands Expo 2017 held at Maple Ridge Centre on March 15 was an outstanding success with over 300 people attending the event.

While youngsters of all ages enjoyed the bouncy castles of Tribeck Inflatables, the friendly animals from Vanderlaand The Barnyard Zoo or the various activities provided by the Maple Ridge Centre, such as face painting, the Glow Room, carnival treats or getting a picture with Chase from Paw Patrol, the opportunity to learn about the various support agencies available to Dundas County residents was provided.

Linking Hands Coordinator Sandy Casselman mentioned there were about a dozen agencies and organizations in attendance including Community Food Share, Township of North Dundas, Happy Face Nursery School, Naomi’s House and Habitat for Humanity-Seaway Valley.

“Several visitors said they were able to get the information they needed or hoped for from various agencies,” Casselman said in a release following the event. “As well, most exhibitors seemed pleased with the number of people they reached and the amount of information they were able to disseminate.”

Paw Patrol to the rescue

Crysler Mom Natalie Juhasz holds son Caleb while her daughter Olivia stands next to Chase from Paw Patrol. Chase was a popular personality throughout the Linking Hands Expo gathering attention and photo requests wherever he went. Thompson Goddard photo

Habitat for Humanity-Seaway Valley Dundas County Build family, the Beatty-Pinard family of Winchester were at the event and assisting at this organization’s booth. Resource and Volunteer Coordinator Breckyn Fowler said the organization is still searching for a location for the Dundas Build. The Beatty-Pinard family include Mom Sarah, Dad Alex, who runs Quality Clean and three children Owen, Avery and Jonah.

Fowler described various fundraising campaigns which include Raising the Roof and the Paper House Campaign. The Paper House Campaign involves purchasing a paper house for $2.00 with the “house” displayed at events or the ReStore. Fowler mentioned the excitement is building as plans progress for the re-location of the ReStore from its Bonville location to Cornwall.

Linking Hands Dundas County is an outreach project of the House of Lazarus in Mountain which is described on its web page as “a community-based, community-led initiative to bring Dundas County’s communities together with the information, services, resources, and networking connections they need to live a better, more quality-filled life”.

In addition to other initiatives such as “Lunch and Learn” and “Tea and Talk”, Linking Hands Dundas County is conducting a housing assessment survey to find out the needs for housing in the county. Casselman described how the results will be used to determine what the needs are with a view to developing programs to meet them.

This event was surely an example of the willingness of many organizations in Dundas County working together towards the common goal of creating a better environment for its citizens.