By Cathy Pelletier
Marian & Bill Yedinak and Bob Liddycoat represnted the Shuffle committee when they delivered $1,000 to Matt Huber, of the Humane Society.
Nola, a part Dachshund/part Corgi that survived Hurricane Katrina, was one of many recipients of the Canal Bank Shuffle Committee's generosity.
Music-lovers came in droves to witness world-renowned blues artists appear in Thorold last October, and the Canal Bank Shuffle Committee has been sharing the proceeds of the successful 10th annual event with local charities ever since.
Matthew Huber, Senior Animal Care Technician, was grateful to receive a $1,000 donation last month for the abundance of animals currently requiring care at the Lincoln County Humane Society.
Accepting the cheque from Shuffle Committee Members and animal-lovers Marian and Bill Yedinak and Bob Liddycoat, Huber said that Nola has been living at the Humane Society since she was brought there by BARC, the Border Animal Rescue Crew which helped round up the hundreds of dogs running loose after the disaster devastated Louisiana.
"We chose her to be our mascot," said Huber, adding that the name Nola is derived from the dog's hometown of New Orleans.
"Food is a major issue for us right now," stated Huber, adding that many people have been forced to drop off their pets because they no longer have sufficient funds to feed them. "We can't survive without the help of our community" in the way of food and cash donations, he said.
Bob Liddycoat of the Shuffle Committee dropped off a cheque for $1,000 to the TCAG
Also last month, TCAG Manager Betty Lou Lynds accepted a cheque for $1,000 from the Shuffle, along with TCAG Board members Laurie Mendonca, Dawn Dobbie, Elaine St. Hilaire, President Denise Palomba, Kyle Berketo, Fran Pagendam, and Nella and Dave Dekker. The donation was presented during the TCAG's annual auction, and is earmarked for child and youth programming in Thorold.
Finally, a cheque for $5,000 was handed over to the Niagara chapter of AutismOntario this week, by Shuffle Chair Tim Sinnett and Treasurer Rudy Walters.
"We are not government funded," said Manager Tamara Coleman-Lawrie, adding that the Niagara chapter relies solely on donations and fundraising for its five programs, which include the brand new Girls Only Club and Lego Club along with the more established Social Skills, Life Skills, and Teen Community Group for high-functioning teens programs.
She said the $5,000 will be used to support autism programs and services -- "Everything from our teen program to our child and youth program; not just for classic autism but for those who need socialization and life skills, and engaging them with the community."
Coleman-Lawrie added that many autistic people require help with movement and fine motor skills, and the money "will definitely help with our summer camp as well."
|Rudy Walters and Tim Sinnett (r) of the Shuffle committee delivered a cheque for $5,000 to Autism Niagara.|
Currently, about 150 to 170 Thoroldites access the services of AutismOntario, and one in every 110 people are diagnosed with the condition, according to Program Manager Elizabeth Hunter. However, it's "not just the immediate family" that's affected, said Coleman-Lawrie, "but also the grandparents, the school community, and we like to teach people to gain empathy" for autistic people, she explained.
"No two people experience it the same. It's such a broad spectrum" of symptoms. "Some autistic kids may look normal but still may be struggling."
Autism is now considered the third most common developmental disorder in the world, and more prevalent than childhood cancer, Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis or Multiple Sclerosis. Autism Spectrum Disorders are neurological disorders that affect brain functioning and can impact people’s communication, social contact and behavior. For further information, visit www.autismontario.com/niagara.
To raise additional funds for charities, the Canal Bank Shuffle Committee will host a one-night only concert on Friday, Jan. 13 at Club Belvedere, featuring two of Canada's finest guitarists, David Gogo and perennial Shuffle favourite, Jack de Keyser. Tickets are now available at www.canalbankshuffle.com, and at Trillium Industrial Safety, located at 526 Queenston Street in St. Catharines.