WINCHESTER — He built a campaign to help the disadvantaged, and for that, construction worker Mike Barkley landed the Linking Hands Dundas County 2016 Good Neighbour Award.
The Brinston resident — formerly of Chesterville — was honoured with the North Dundas version of the annual county award, at the Feb. 14 North Dundas Council meeting.
(Barkley’s South Dundas counterpart — Chad De Jong — was similarly presented with his plaque on Feb. 7.)
In October 2014, Barkley began a local campaign to assist the working poor — or as he puts it on his Facebook page set up for the cause: “Paying it forward for the working family.”
He was inspired, he says, by a workmate who arrived at the job site “every day without a lunch just so his kids would always have food to eat.
“It really pulled at the old heart strings seeing this, so I had to do something to help him and others in similar situations.”
The Facebook page auctions donated items to generate funds for the initiative, which has so far raised $4,500 and helped 26 families as well as 93 children with food supplies and holiday gifts at Easter and Christmas, along with backpacks and school supplies. He also rolled out a related free pizza program through most of last — with involvement from a major pizza chain — that served 171 families with 418 pizzas just between February and June of 2016, according to the Barkley’s Facebook post on the subject. He hopes to revive the free pizza service in this spring, he says
“So I just want to thank everyone who has been apart of this,” Barkley says in the post that expresses a “huge thank you to everyone.”
“So far we all have a hand in helping make hard-working families lives easier in our community.”
Barkley was nominated by 2015 Good Neighbour Award recipient Elva Patterson-Rutters.
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