WELLAND – The public is once again invited to join us for our Remembrance Day Community Service at the Welland-Crowland War Memorial, Chippawa Park, Friday November 11, starting at 10:45 a.m.
Co-organizer Ken Cassavoy says, as always, the service is to be simple and informal. It centres on the live CBC Radio broadcast from the National Cenotaph in Ottawa followed by a reading of In Flanders Fields by service co-organizer Betsy Warankie.
The service offers families, friends, and all others, a few simple Remembrance Day moments to join together in honouring those who died, as well as those who served, in World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, in Afghanistan, and in United Nations peace-keeping missions around the world.
The gathering takes place in the shadow of our magnificent Welland-Crowland War Memorial, created by Canadian artist Elizabeth Wyn Wood and unveiled in Chippawa Park in 1939.
Following the service all those attending are invited to leave their poppies on the war memorial or pinned to the new Remembrance Day 2022 Cenotaph Commemoration Canvas. The “Poppy Canvas” is to be placed on public display for the month of November.
Support for this Community Service is provided by Welland Mayor Frank Campion’s office, Welland city council, and Welland city staff. Institutional support is provided by the Welland Historical Museum board of directors and staff.
The service runs from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m., Friday, November 11, at the war memorial in Chippawa Park.
A view of the Welland River and it banks with fall colour nearing full splendour, pictured today at 2:05 p.m. from Woodlawn Bridge. (View From The Bridge is a recurring feature on the blog. /Joe Barkovich photo.)
Time to check in again with Welland Food Drive co-ordinator Monique Finley. The long-serving volunteer (about 20 years involvement including about 15 as co-ordinator) sings praises of the event she has referred to as a “one-day miracle”, but also winces from the pain, suffering and hardship that make it a reality and necessity for growing numbers of people. Finley, a professor in Niagara College’s School of Business and Management, and co-ordinator of the Business-General Program, agreed to a Q and A-format interview about our city-wide food drive which is coming up Saturday, Nov. 5. Her responses to my questions follow below. – Joe Barkovich.
JB: Being involved in the food drive as long as you have, would you say it is a disappointing experience (because it is still continuing after all these years); a fulfilling, enriching experience; or both?
MF: The Welland Food Drive has really changed over time, as everything does. Originally, it was a very small team of committed Wellanders but I have found over the years that the charities involved have really come to help with the organization and implementation of the drive. As a result, it is very well organized and the responsibility of doing it all is a more shared community experience.
JB: We keep hearing stories about the need being greater than ever. What’s your take on that and how do you convince skeptics?
MF: If you drive through the neighbourhoods of Welland, it is easy to see change and expansion. It is no secret that the cost of housing in Welland has reached incredible highs. The cost of things like gas and hydro and food has also increased. Inflation is on the rise. If a family is already living paycheque to paycheque and the cost of life has increased, then it stands to reason that there may not be enough money left for adequate amounts of food. We have all been through a lot since March 2020, the start of the pandemic, but the people at the lowest end of the economic spectrum have been punched the hardest.
JB: Why is there such phenomenal community support and involvement for the food drive?
MF: Especially over the last few years many people have had the time, while isolated, to reflect and many have spent that time realizing that compared to some, they are doing OK. People have had time to count blessings and the gratitude for those blessings take hold. As a result, people who can help are motivated to give (more) and do (more) for the less fortunate.
JB: If hard times persist, would the community-wide food drive go to twice a year, or even maybe more? Why or why not?
MF: The charities involved; Hope Centre, Salvation Army and Open Arms Mission work all year-round to keep their shelves stocked. They each have initiatives to raise food and funds to take care of their clients. Additionally, companies, organizations and community groups step to the plate with their own initiatives. There are always opportunities to give so where the food drive is only once a year, people can help out whenever and however they see fit.
JB: There are dire predictions that Canada is heading into a recession. Does this frighten you, especially from the point of view of impact on poverty?
MF: I’m not an economist and my crystal ball is no clearer (probably downright blurry) relative to anyone else’s but I am afraid for what is coming. Interest rates are rising, inflation is climbing, governments have no more money to spend, the population is growing older. I certainly do not have the wisdom to figure challenges out. I just feel that we will need to hold onto our hats and pray.
JB: How do you recharge your batteries?
MF: I am very lucky in that I have been able to continue to work throughout the pandemic in the safety of my home with great support from my employer (Niagara College). My batteries have been recharging. I’m ready to work and interface with others and try to make a difference.
JB: Can we rely on charity to keep the food drive going indefinitely?
MF: I feel we cannot rely on government. It has spent all it has and then some throughout the pandemic. What is left is charity, the generosity of individuals, the kindness of the more fortunate and the willingness to take care of our neighbours. There is no seasonality to charity and being a source of strength and kindness towards each other should be part of our DNA.
JB: Agree or disagree? Why?: “Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice.” — Jacques Diouf.
MF: People must do everything they can to help themselves. There is work out there but in that I’m understanding from many employers that good workers are very hard to find. We must work to our capability, and we must exert effort to support ourselves and our families. Work and purpose is good for our self-respect, our self-confidence, our self-worth…. Our souls. In this country of plenty we have a responsibility to each other and when a person is doing everything they can to help themselves, we must remember that we are our brothers’ keepers.
JB: Ordinary people are doing exceptional work helping alleviate hunger for so many of their friends and neighbours through their charitable giving. From a social justice point of view, what should our political leaders be focusing on in the struggle against poverty to bring about long-term change?
MF: I’m not a huge believer that governments can fix everything that is broken and when it comes to things like social justice, I don’t think change can be legislated. Until we each take personal responsibility to help and make a difference then no substantial, long-lasting change will take place. Fixing the problem of hunger and homelessness is NOT up to ‘the government’ it is up to us, you and me – my time to volunteer, my food donation to feed the hungry, my hand reaching out to offer help. This is not the government’s problem to fix. They have tried and they can’t. It is my problem, my responsibility and my duty. It needs to be personal.
JB: Ever think about putting your feet up and letting someone else carry on? How much longer will you be doing what you’re doing in the local community and the food drive?
MF: You know, giving is a privilege. Where I would like to think I’m making a difference to those less fortunate, I receive a great deal of self-satisfaction and inspiration working with other loving and generous people who are committed to the Welland Food Drive. Where I would be happy to take a back seat and let others take the reins, I’d like to think that as long as I am able, as long as I have the strength, as long as what I contribute is relevant, then it is my privilege to help. We all know that it is in giving that we receive.
“There is no seasonality to charity and being a source of strength and kindness towards each other should be part of our DNA.”– Monique Finley.
Local resident Doug Hamilton to receive honorary diploma
Student success will be in the spotlight as Niagara College celebrates almost 1,200 new graduates this fall.
On October 28, the College will host Fall 2022 Convocation with two in-person ceremonies at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre.
The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., dedicated to 534 new graduates from its schools of Allied Health, Nursing and Personal Support Worker, Community Studies, and Justice and Fitness.
The 3 p.m. ceremony will celebrate 664 graduating students from a variety of program areas within its schools of Academic and Liberal Studies; Business and Management; Environment and Horticulture; Culinary Arts; Hospitality and Tourism; Wine, Beer and Spirits; Technology; and Trades.
“Convocation is truly the highlight of the academic year for our College community, and we look forward to celebrating this significant milestone with our graduating students and their supporters,” said College President Sean Kennedy. “Our latest class will join our alumni community of more than 100,000 graduates who can be found succeeding and leading – not only in Niagara, but across Canada and around the world.”
Fall Convocation will include a special recognition for St. Catharines resident Doug Hamilton. The former Olympian and World Champion rower, with a 30-year career as an environmental lawyer, played a central role in the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games as Chair of its Board of Directors. An Honorary Diploma in Sport Management will be conferred upon Hamilton during the afternoon ceremony, in recognition of his leadership role in the Games.
“Through his leadership, Doug Hamilton played a key role in the success of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, which put our region in the national spotlight and created numerous experiential opportunities for students,” said Kennedy. “We look forward to recognizing his important contributions to our College and the community at Fall Convocation.”
In addition to hosting convocation ceremonies on campus, the College will continue offering graduates and their families an option to celebrate their special milestone virtually this fall. Ceremonies may be viewed in the moment via livestream through NC’s convocation website.
Graduates who opt to watch via the virtual livestream may connect to their in-person ceremony by using the hashtag #NCGrad2022 in their social media posts. Public social media posts using the dedicated convocation hashtag appear on screen during in-person ceremonies and are incorporated into ceremony livestreams.
Free on-campus parking will be available for graduates and guests during convocation ceremonies.
Before the pomp and circumstance begins for Fall Convocation, NC will welcome recent graduates from its classes of 2020-2021 to campus for a Virtual Graduate Alumni Celebration. While the event is not intended to replicate in-person convocation ceremonies, alumni who graduated with virtual convocation ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 will have an opportunity to return to campus, reconnect with their classmates, hear from speakers, and pose for photos in convocation gowns.
The invite-only event will be held at the Welland Campus on October 27.