Hard working volunteers
Members of the North Dundas Youth Centre served up a selection of food during the 2019 Linking Hands Expo held at North Dundas District High School on March 13. Volunteers are pictured from the left, Todd Johnson, Laurie Legue, Kaitlin Herfkens, Scott LeBlanc and Matthew Johnson. Thompson Goddard photo

Photo time with Chase
Linking Hands coordinator Sandy Casselman holds the free draw tickets provided to children during the Linking Hands Expo while posing with Paw Patrol favourite, Chase.
Thompson Goddard photo

CHESTERVILLE – The Linking Hands Expo has become a staple of March Break in Dundas County. In 2019 it moved across the road from the Maple Ridge Centre to North Dundas District High School. Organizers were pleased with the new location; and, Linking Hands coordinator Sandy Casselman expected to welcome more than two hundred people to the event. Casselman explained the event began in 2016 with the goal of providing Dundas County residents with information on services that are available to them, noting how many of these are based in Cornwall but serve residents through Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.  

The Winchester & District Memorial Hospital, Sexual Assault Support Services for Women of SDG&A and Community Living Dundas County were among the organizations who had booths at the event. According to a flyer from Morrisburg based CLDC, the organization provides support and advocating “for the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability providing training and resources for families and self-advocates.” The Brown Bag Lunch, a CLDC fundraiser that provides funds for the George Davidson Fund, the Snoezelen Room and transportation, is planned for May 7 in North Dundas and May 28 in South Dundas. More information on Community Living Dundas County can be found on their Facebook page.

Casselman commented how the event also provides an opportunity for grandparents, parents and caregivers to do something with their children during March Break. In the school gym, Tribeck Inflatables provided bouncy castles while in the cafeteria there was face painting, crafts and the opportunity to make a button at the SDG County Library pop-up library. Later in the day, Sing Song Party Time entertained the children in the gym followed by a story-time reading.   Volunteers from the North Dundas Youth Program provided hot dogs, drinks and treats for sale during the event as well as providing information on the 2019 Touch A Truck event on Sat., June 15 at the Joel Steele Arena parking lot in Winchester.

Kim Merkley, Food Bank coordinator at House of Lazarus, commented how “it’s awesome [they] were able to offer a free day which provides information and fun.” Casselman thanked all event sponsors which included community organizations, businesses and individuals, making special note of the organizational assistance from Happy Face Nursery for the 2019 Linking Hands Expo. She explained that plans are in the organizing phase for a Paint Nite fundraiser in Chesterville on April 29 and the 14th annual Walk for Food is planned for May 25 of this year.