Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:11

Tay Valley Community Choir Spring Concert

We all talk about the weather – here is your chance to sing about it! An eclectic mix of music loosely based on the theme of weather will be presented by the popular Tay Valley Community Choir. Under the ever-patient direction of Rebecca Worden and accompanied by the talented Mary Lou Carroll, the choir will sing selections ranging from musicals to pop songs to folk tunes. As is the custom at Tay Valley Choir concerts, there will be plenty of fun as well as opportunities to sing along (words provided) with familiar tunes.

Featured guests at this concert will be 'Three Guitars in Spring'. David Ramsden and Rob Rainer, both former Tay Valley Choir members, play guitar and sing with Mike Erion playing archtop guitar. Together, the trio has explored jazz standards of yesteryear and other popular music with jazz interpretations. They will share some of their favourites. Several vocal sections of the choir have also prepared familiar songs to perform.

The Spring concert will be held at the Maberly Hall on Friday, April 12 at 7:00. Admission is $10 at the door. Food Bank donations are welcomed. Refreshments will follow the concert, allowing time to chat with neighbours and friends. Come for the music, and stay for the food.

Published in Lanark County

Four years ago Joanne Pickett of Arden Pottery decided to start up an Empty Bowls project in her own community.

Empty Bowls is a fund raising project that has been embraced by potters throughout North America as a way of raising money and awareness about poverty. It was founded not by potters, but by two high school art teachers in Michigan, John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn. Students in Hartom’s class made bowls and then Hartom and Blackburn, who are a married couple, organised a lunch for students and teachers in the school. They filled the bowls with soup, and served them to everyone, then asked them all to think about those in their community whose soup bowls were empty. They then asked for donations and said, “keep the bowls”.

The concept of empty bowls was born. In 2002, Empty Bowls came to Eastern Ontario when Perth area potter, the late Jackie Seaton, started up the Perth Empty Bowls project. The project is now in its 16th year and has raised over $200,000 for local youth and food programs. The dozen potters who are involved have made over 9,000 bowls.

The experience of Empty Bowls for Joanne Pickett in Arden has been similar, although on a smaller scale. In the first year Joanne made most of the bowls herself and involved few people, raising $800 for the North Frontenac Food Bank, based in Sharbot Lake.

In the second year more people were involved and $1,400 was raised and last year $2,200 was raised.

This year local potters from Water's Edge Pottery, Aileen Merriam, Jonas Bonetta and Arden Pottery have donated over 100 bowls. For $20. diners choose from a menu of gourmet soups and chilies served in a one-of-a-kind handcrafted pottery bowl that they get to keep.

This year's offerings include smoked tomato and basil soup with shaved Parmesan cheese, chicken/veg and brown rice , creamy curried squash, and baked potato soup with cheddar and bacon - just to name a few. For the adventuresome among us there will be a wild chili - all ingredients (except for the salt) harvested in Kennebec township. Soups and chilies are served with a crispy ciabatta roll and butter.

Freshly brewed coffee and tea, and mulled cider will be available with a selection of delicious homemade cookies and cupcakes.

Also this year there will be a silent auction as part of the Empty Bowls campaign, with artwork donated by local artists.

The event begins at 10 am and goes until 4 pm on the 17th, when Arden will be chock full of Frontenac Heritage Festival events.

See the blue pamphlet in this week’s paper for a complete schedule.


Sunday in Sharbot Lake featured the seventh year of Ecumenical Carol Service put on by six ministerials in the area.

“This is our second time here at St. James Major,” said Rev. Mark Hudson. “We rotate around the different churches.

“We’d like to hold it outside like the summer service at the beach but you never know what the weather’s going to be.”

Hudson said when they started out, they held the Carol Service on Saturday nights “but the seniors seemed to prefer we hold it in the afternoon.”

“It’s a popular service with good representation from many faiths and participation from a lot of lay people.”

For example, Richard and Lois Webster greeted guests as they arrived and did the offering (which goes to the Food Bank), Hudson did the welcome and opening prayer, George Weiss read Isaiah 7:10-14, Nelda Whan read Isaiah 11:1-10, Art Shaw did a solo, the Kids Zone Ministry did Shout it Out, Irene Hawley told the Legend of the Candy Cane, Lois Webster read Luke 2:8-20 and Father Jonathan Askwith gave a message and the closing prayer.

Christmas Carols included Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joy to the World and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Bob Miller also performed a couple of carols.

“I’ve sorta gravitated towards the best unknown carols there are,” he said.

Refreshments and fellowship followed the service.

Participating ministerials included St. Andrews Anglican Church, St. James Major Catholic Church, Parham Free Methodist Church, Sharbot Lake Centennial Pastoral Charge, Sharbot Lake Pentecostal Church and the Praise Church.


Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake often functions as Provincial Court but last Saturday, it became a slightly different ‘Court’ as the Sharbot Lake Leos Club held its first ever Jail ’n’ Bail to raise funds for the Food Bank.

President Annika Putnam, who also served as ‘judge,’ said the idea came from a brainstorming session where club members tossed out fundraising ideas.

“This one seemed the most feasible,” she said. “We thought it was unique.

“The Mayor (Francis Smith) was the first one we thought of to arrest.

Lion Leslie Smith-Merrigan said the ideas were all from the Leos but “sometimes you gotta shake up the town.

“(But) we try to let them make the rules.”

So, beginning around 10am, prominent local ‘criminals’ started being ‘arrested’ and sentenced to an hour behind bars phoning friends, family and anybody else they could think of to pledge funds and get them out of jail.

At the end of the day, they’d raised about $5,600 for the Food Bank.

They had a lot of help, such as OPP Aux. Const. Nicole Greenstreet and Ilya Medovikov who apprehended the criminals, Brian Robertson of North Frontenac Little Theatre who assembled the ‘jail,’

John Richter who made a special maple and cherry wood gavel and block just for the occasion, as well as numerous parents and Lions Club members who donated to the Leos’ bake sale table and canteen (proceeds of which will go towards funding Leo activities).

Bailiffs were Abby Beattie, Braidey Merrigan, Zack Kaillam, Christian Armstrong and Riley Merrigan.

Smith-Merrigan said anyone 12-18 who’d like to join the Leos can do so by contacting her, and Leo or Lions Club member.

The following is a list of the criminals apprehended and the crimes they commited:

• James MacDonald: Orderly conduct and Driving while under the influence of education
• Tom Corneil: Felony planking, Attempted retirement and Possession of shorts and attempting to wear them year-round
• Wayne Robinson: Generosity in the first degree
• Marcel Giroux: Excessive volunteering and Stalking and contributing to every needy cause
• Connie McLellan: Grand selflessness with excessive positivity
• Robert Moore: Possession of caffeine with intent to sell and Distribution of Community Spirit
• Bill MacDonald: Aiding and abetting aggravated salting of township roads and Attempted assault on an innocent pine tree
• Francis Smith: Attempting honest politics and Break & entering into office
• Dave and Dawn Hansen: Disturbing the peace with the Lions roar and Possession and trafficking of pins worldwide.


For many years now, food bank volunteers have been joined by OPP auxiliary members and it’s been a mutually beneficial arrangement.

In Sydenham, Verona and Sharbot Lake (like last Saturday), auxiliary officers have brought a police vehicle to a local grocery store (like Mike Dean’s) and joined food bank volunteers to collect foodstuffs and cash donations. They call it Stuff the Cruiser.

“I’m local and my mom’s on the (food bank) committee,” said Aux. Const. Nicole Greenstreet, a veteran of a half-dozen or so Stuff the Cruiser campaigns. “So I know the need.

“Plus it’s a good organization to be supporting that’s vital to the community.”

“I just like to help out with the food drive,” said Aux. Const. Curtis Jacques, who was on his fourth Saturday. “There’s a need and it’s fun to meet people in the community.”

The new kid on the block this week was Steve Scantlebury, a “just retired a week or two ago” local whose wife Barb is also on the food bank committee and suggested he help out. He said he’d be back.

“Any donations of food and/or cash are useful,” said Barb, as the cruiser was starting to fill up. “It looks like we’ll have to take the cruiser over to the food bank and empty it out shortly.

“I just joined last year and we had one time when we had to empty the cruiser out twice.”

“We’ve been blessed with donations that keep us running,” said North Frontenac Food Bank Director Kim Pascal-Cucoch. “The auxiliary OPP officers have helped us collect a lot and they give us a presence.

“This is a wonderful community that supports us on an ongoing basis.”

The food bank, behind the St. Lawrence Employment Centre, accepts donations on a year-round basis.

In every basket they try to add tea bags, instant coffee, sleeve crackers, packaged pasta and jars/cans of sauce, boxed cereal, Kraft Dinner, peanut butter, jam, packaged rice and cans of beans, stew or chunky soup, salmon, tuna, soup, juice and tomatoes.

In baskets for families with children, they add snack pudding or apple sauce cups, fruit cups, granola bars, drink boxes, Rice Krispie squares, hot chocolate packages and canned pasta like Alphagetti or Zoodles.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 13:52

OPP stuff the cruiser in Sydenham and Verona

Don’t be alarmed at the sight of OPP cruisers at Verona and Sydenham Foodland stores on April 1st – in fact, be sure to stop by and see how much food can fit into a police cruiser.

On Saturday, April 1, from 10:00am to 3:00pm, the OPP Auxiliary will be supporting the South Frontenac food bank by hosting their bi-annual “Stuff the Cruiser” event. In partnership with the Foodland stores in Verona and Sydenham, customers will be encouraged to make donations of non-perishable food, and stuff their donations in the OPP cruiser on site.

“The community was incredibly generous over the Christmas holiday season, and the food bank shelves were full and overflowing,” says food bank coordinator, Vicki England, “but as spring and summer approach, stocks begin to go down, particularly of certain items that are given out regularly” England states that the food bank is in need of certain items. “We are in need of cereal, small jars of peanut butter, chunky soup, pasta sauce, and canned fruit.”

England also states that the food bank is completely supported by donations, not only of food, but also of cash. “Many people don’t think of the food bank as needing money, but it needs to pay for operating expenses, and to buy fresh food like meats, dairy, and eggs.” Cash donations over $20 are eligible for a tax deductible receipt.

The food bank has one part-time staff member, and a dedicated team of twenty volunteers who receive and sort donations, and prepare and distribute food hampers to over 50 families – or about 80 people total – each month.

Adds Janet McComb, a food bank volunteer; “The Foodland stores are great, and put together packages of some of our most needed items. Then they sell these packages to customers at a significant price reduction.” Customers can choose to purchase a pre-packaged bag, or to donate whatever they would like.

“It’s always fun, and a great visual to see the OPP officers interacting with the public, and giving of their time to support our community,” says England.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:26

Spaghetti Dinner on March 29

On Wednesday, March 29, volunteers from the Sydenham Food Bank will be hosting a spaghetti dinner for the community, to help raise funds for the food bank.

The Community Spaghetti Dinner will be held from 4:30 to 7:00pm on Wednesday, March 29th, at Grace Hall, 4295 Stage Coach Road in Sydenham. Tickets are on sale now, at $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12, and are available at Southern Frontenac Community Services office, and are being sold by food bank volunteers.

“We wanted to do something fun for the community,” says Janet McComb, a food bank volunteer, “so we thought a pasta dinner would be a simple, good idea.” The dinner includes choice of spaghetti or penne, meat or marinara sauce, salad, bread, desserts and beverages. Says McComb: “We’ll even have take-out available so you can take the night off from cooking.”

As well as being a low-key night out, the Spaghetti Dinner is a way to raise profile and funds for the food bank. Food Bank Coordinator Vicki England says; “the food bank serves about 50 families each month. Our community is terrific at supporting it with donations and food drives. But there are other costs to operate the food bank.” Funds raised from the dinner will be put towards construction of an accessible ramp.

“One of the big challenges we have now that the food bank has moved to its new location at the Grace Centre site, is having an accessible entrance to allow clients and volunteers with physical barriers the ability to access the service. A ramp is also helpful for loading food donations,” says England.

The cost for constructing a ramp is estimated to be at least $10,000. “This event will help us raise some money, and we’ll have a 50-50 draw as well. It’s a start,” says McComb, “we hope that everyone will come out and just enjoy themselves.”

Wednesday, 08 February 2017 13:24

Food More Traveled

Kim Perry of Food Less Traveled (Local Family Farms) in Verona got into the Canada 150 spirit a little early. Starting last December, and every month of this year, she is putting on a promotion to benefit the food banks in Sydenham and Sharbot Lake. In December she put a special price on meat pies, and for each sale she also set one aside for the food bank. Last week, she travled from Verona all the way to Sydenham to deliver the pies to the South Frontenac Community Services Food bank. In January the special was on ground beef, produced at the Perry Anjou family farm. Can’t get more local than that.

Check out Local Famuily farms at 6674 Road 38 in Verona.


Christmas Box Time in Loughborough 

Sydenham Lion Joanne Ankers presented a cheque for $1,000 to Sue Clinton, for the Loughborough Christmas and Emergency Relief Committee. (LCERC).

For the past 28 years, the LCERC has been preparing Christmas baskets for Loughborough and area families in need. This year, 73 baskets will go out, each containing the ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner, along with a few treats, and a book and a gift for each child. Throughout the rest of the year, the fund is available for relief in cases of emergency, such as house fires. 

Because LCERC works in liaison with Southern Frontenac Community Services by receiving referrals, and uses Grace Hall to organize the actual Christmas boxes, people often confuse the two agencies. But LCERC is a completely separate, non-profit group of only five Sydenham residents (Bev McNeil, Sue Clinton, Lisa Holmes, Jim Kelly and Peter Stewart).

It’s a great example of what can be accomplished by a few determined and hard-working individuals. All their money comes from local donations, and they provide tax receipts; it’s still not too late to send them a donation. They do call in some extra volunteers in the last week before Christmas to help sorting and packing the rows and rows of boxes that fill the huge hall.

On Thursday, December 22nd, the committee was working in earnest, assembling orders, lining up brightly coloured mittens, and boxes of toys to be ready for the special day, when families came to gather their goodies for Christmas. By 2:30, the Grace Centre Hall was full of colour, the boxes already, save for the Turkey’s and other perishable items that got delivered the next day, just in time for Christmas

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 23:17

Stuff a cruiser - Sharbot Lake

Kim Cucoch of the North Frontenac Food Bank, flanked by members of the OPP Auxiliary at the fall 'stuff the cruiser' event in front of Mike Deans Grocery store in Sharbot Lake, on Saturday, October 29. A steady stream of store customers made food and cash donations from 10 until 2. The cruiser needed to be emptied more than once as food kept accumulating.

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