21 families already registered in ‘Heat for the Holidays’ program
WINCHESTER — The 4th annual Highway 43 Car Club Winchester BMR Show n’ Shine delivered more than a glimmer of hope to a couple of local charities in the lead-up to the Christmas season and colder weather.
Proceeds of the Aug. 12 show — a gathering of muscle and chrome in BMR proprietor Ken Boje’s parking lot — were turned over Oct. 5 to the House of Lazarus (HOL) and Community Food Share (CFS).
Each received $1,013 and split 200 pounds of food collected at this year’s show that drew almost 130 vehicles this year. The funds came from car show registrants as well as the net proceeds of a barbecue at the event.
Both recipient agencies are again investing in the Project Warmth and Heat for the Holidays initiatives to help keep the chill out of the homes of the less fortunate this winter. Those programs dispense window-film kits (in the first instance) and artificial logs as fuel, items that flow through Winchester BMR at cost to the organizing committees. (Boje also negotiates a great price from his suppliers as well.)
The longer-running Project Warmth dispenses the plastic film to users of the food banks at HOL and CFS — as clientele may live in homes with drafty windows. “The Health Unit also hands them out,” noted HOL Ralph Pulfer. “They were a really big hit last year.” Boje said he expects more than 200 kits — in both single and multi-window varieties — to be distributed this year.
“Nobody has one leaky window,” observed CFS general manager Ian McKelvie. “It’s usually the whole set.”
More fire logs being ordered as Project Heat popularity sparked
Meanwhile, the newer Heat for the Holidays program hands out artificial fire logs by the pallet-load — each containing 84 boxes roughly equivalent to a month’s worth of heat for approved applicant families that have wood-burning appliances (not unusual for a rural demographic). In its debut last year, the initiative delivered eight skids of fire logs before the “stressful time” of Christmas and two more in January, according to Boje. “It’s one less worry, to worry about heating [at Christmas],” the retailer said, adding a recipient came into the store later to personally thank him for delivering the logs (and then proceeded to buy a couple of skids for the following year).
McKelvie said he heard from individuals last year who regretted not applying for the then-new program. This year, 15 families were in line to receive the logs as of Oct. 5 — a number that rose to 21 by month’s end. “We’re ordering more skids,” said Boje in a telephoned update this week.
Winchester BMR is also working to collect donations from patrons and the public to cover the cost of the logs (which Boje again procures at a cut-rate price from the Quebec-based manufacturer). Donors could opt to pay for a week’s or month’s worth of heat, he suggested.
On a related note, the store is similarly involved with sourcing material for Dundas County Linking Hands’ new Handyman Heroes program — linking the less fortunate with participating contractors to make desperately needed home repairs the owners could never otherwise afford. Handyman Heroes won the hearts of 136 attendees at the Sept. 27 100 Men Who Care North Dundas meeting and was awarded $10,000. Boje said he would be meeting today (Oct. 29) to go over details with a new committee overseeing Handyman Heroes. The businessman man is also gearing up Winchester BMR to reprise its annual role as a central staging area for the North Dundas Christmas Fund’s snowsuit campaign.