| May 10, 2007

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Feature Article - May 10, 2007

Retired women teachers of Ontario

This year is the 10th Anniversary of Bags Plus, the caring and sharing project of the Kingston Branch of Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO). In 1997 Alice McIlroy had an idea for creating book bags and under the leadership of Judy Moulton, the first Bags Plus Coordinator, these book bags have now become bags full of personal care items, hats, mitts, scarves, socks, mugs, teabags, books, magazines, toys, art materials, writing materials, school supplies, baby supplies, jewellery and so on; all age, gender and season appropriate.


As well as the cloth bags, other items have been donated.Boxes of afghans, bus tickets, and "coffee and a doughnut" gift certificates were donated to various agencies who then do the distribution to clients.In the past year six large "treat" boxes were delivered to Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan.Donations have also been sent to help with crisis situations in the local community.

The original bags were made mainly for women and children in crisis, but now youth, men, mothers, babies, preschoolers, families and seniors are all on the recipient list. Three times a year the bags and boxes are packed; Christmas and winter, spring and summer, and back-to-school. All of this could not happen without the wonderful work by dedicated volunteers who sew bags, knit/sew/crochet items, shop for bargains at yard sales, dollar stores and store sales, donate items and collect donated items from friends. Volunteers also save and collect A&P tapes. Scholastic Books and Quality Home Products have been faithful donors, as well.

Local district 20 RTO branch has generously supported the initiative with their service to Others Project and the RWTO branch and RTO branch members who supply added support at luncheons. It's been a great ten years of service. They look forward to continuing the caring and sharing in our community of Kingston and the surrounding area. -submitted by Dorothy S. Pearson

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