Who is doing GOOD in Kitchissippi, and how can we help?

In the November issue we asked our readers to submit stories of organizations who are doing good in our community. Well, you delivered! Here are just a few of the good people and charitable initiatives happening in Kitchissippi right now. Got any other GOOD stories to share? Send them to us via this form or share them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Make sure you tag KT so we can find them!

Sock it to Christmas

Submitted by Peggy Blair –

Give the gift of warmth this Christmas! We all know what it’s like to have cold feet in the winter. Imagine if you didn’t have any warm socks! Sock it to Christmas is a sock drive to lend a hand to our neighbours.

We’ll be accepting donations of socks (new socks only) until December 20 at various locations throughout Kitchissippi. Women’s and children’s socks will go to the Parkdale Food Centre’s Soup & Socks campaign, and men’s socks will go to The Ottawa Mission and Shepherds of Good Hope.

We have drop off-bins at Royal LePage Team Realty (#200-1335 Carling), Churchill Seniors Centre (345 Richmond Rd.), Catherine McKenna’s constituency office (107 Catherine St.), and Freshii Westboro (342 Richmond Rd.). Drop your socks off at Royal LePage Team Realty and your name will be entered in a draw for great prizes!

Let’s all Sock it to Christmas!

Help the Westboro Food Bank while shopping at
Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages (371 Richmond Rd.) has teamed up with the Westboro Region Food Bank this holiday season. Until December 15, customers who shop in-store can add a tin of hot chocolate ($7) or a 100g chocolate bar ($4.60) to their purchase to be added to the holiday hampers distributed by the Westboro Region Food Bank. 

“We feel during the holiday season, having an opportunity for a nice meal and special treats is something we all hope for,” says store manager, Judy Lincoln. “We want to help the Westboro Region Food Bank ensure their hampers are filled with high-quality chocolates, to make the holidays special for those receiving them.”

Take in a movie and give back to the community at the same time

The Ottawa Family Cinema has a long history in Kitchissippi. In fact, they recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. If there are children in your life and you haven’t heard about this unique movie-going destination, you’ll want to listen up. 

OFC co-founder Jim McNeill with grandkids Zoe, 5 and Noah, 9. Noah has already joined the next generation of OFC volunteers. Photo by Jacob Hoytema
Ottawa Family Cinema co-founder Jim McNeill with the next generation of OFC volunteers, his grandkids Noah and Zoe. File photo by Jacob Hoytema

The Ottawa Family Cinema is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that hosts family films in the theatre of Notre Dame High School on Broadview Avenue. Their “season” runs from May to September. A one-year family membership is $30. Admission for a member is $4 when purchased in advance ($6 at the door on movie day). Not only is admission less expensive than a regular movie outing, but proceeds go to local charities. Some of the organizations the Ottawa Family Cinema has supported last year through the Family Movie Trust Fund include Canadian Mothercraft Society, Children at Risk, Girl Guides of Canada, and many local public schools. 

A cartoon before the movie, door prizes, and cheap popcorn are always part of the experience too.

You’ll want to mark your calendars as we enter the holiday season:

Sat. Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.: The House With a Clock in its Walls (PG)
Fri Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.: A Christmas Story (G)
Sat Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.: The Star (G)
Sat Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.: The Polar Express in 3D (G) 

The annual Great Christmas Movie Party takes place on Saturday at December 22 at 2 p.m. (The feature film title will be posted at familycinema.ca.) There’ll also be a stage show with Tyler Kealey as well as door prizes, a sing along, and a free gift for all kids. Word has it that Santa and Mrs. Claus will drop by for a visit as well. 

Tickets for all shows are now on sale. See familycinema.ca for additional details.

Give to the Christmas Kettle Campaign

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign runs through December 24, 2018. This year’s campaign goal is set at $550,000 to meet the needs of individuals and families in our community and 43 Christmas Kettles will be out in shopping centres and stores around the city of Ottawa. 

Money raised during the campaign funds vital programs that serve thousands of people in need in our community. It helps provide nutritious meals through the Community Food Line as well as emergency food and clothing to families and individuals. 

The campaign also supports the emergency disaster services program, which offers 24/7 deployment of food, water, clothing, and emotional and spiritual care for displaced individuals and families as a result of fires, disasters and emergencies. It also supports emergency services personnel responding to a disaster.

Donations can be made in person at a kettle with cash or cheque or online at FillTheKettle.com.

Dance the night away for a great cause

Submitted by Kaeli Mccarthy –

The Jingle Hop is a ‘fun’draising event organized by Ottawa women with an aim to raise both funds and awareness for local charitable organizations. This year will be the third annual Jingle Hop and we hope to surpass the previous fundraising goal of $5,000 with the support from local businesses, organizations and attendees like you! Past recipients of funds from Jingle Hop include Cornerstone Housing for Women and St. Luke’s Table. 

This year, the Jingle Hop has chosen to support Harmony House, a charity that provides shelter for women and their children who are survivors of violence. Their aim is to promote the creation of a world where women and their children are safe and free from all forms of violence and oppression. 

The Jingle Hop will be held Friday December 21 at the Carleton Tavern (223 Armstrong St.) in Hintonburg. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door and are cash only. 

The silent auction will take place between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., with drinks and dancing to follow. A local DJ will be spinning tunes well into the evening, so make sure you wear your dancing shoes.

Support an oasis of green in the heart of Westboro

Submitted by Douglas McGregor –

The Highland Park Lawn Bowling Club has been a landmark of green providing our community with a great way to keep active and connected for the last 104 years. It would be a serious loss for this oasis to become yet another building site in Westboro.

 The reason for this possibility is a lack of funds to repair, renovate or replace our aging clubhouse due to large property tax increases starting in 2017.

 A club members’ committee is investigating various means to resolve this problem, but, regardless of what is decided, significant funds will have to be raised.

The first step has been to arrange for charitable contributions to be made to our club through the National Sport Trust Fund – Ontario (NSTF-O), which will result in income tax deductions for donors.

Two projects have been set up through the NSTF-O: To purchase equipment required to enable our members to take on the many tasks of maintaining our bowling green – previously performed by a commercial contractor – and to undertake clubhouse improvements. Contributions for these projects can be made at highlandparklawnbowling.ca/donations.

We need, and will greatly appreciate, your help to allow us to continue to be an important part of Westboro’s community, for at least another 100 years.

Please come and join us at our open houses on May 11 and 14. You can enjoy a taste of our favourite summer sport and have a bowl!

Douglas McGregor is the president of the Highland Park Lawn Bowling Club.

Read and share some great books

On Saturday December 8 at 3 p.m., First United Ottawa (347 Richmond Rd) will host a free event for parents, grandparents, and everyone, who are hoping to discover award-winning, kid-approved books about Canadian history as well as important social issues, but also help them find ways to broach difficult topics with their children. 

Local education experts and parents will share their favourite books to buy and read year round. 

Some of the books up for discussion include the award-winning When We Were Alone by David Robertson, a story that helps children understand residential schools. Africville, by Shauntay Grant, teaches kids about an important part of Nova Scotian and Canadian history that many never learned about in school.

An education expert from Venus Envy will present books for families to help parents talk to kids about consent, gender, kindness, and body positivity. Ottawa parenting blogger, Mike Reynolds, will be talking about depictions of masculinity in children’s books.

Following the one-hour presentation there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion. 

Childcare will be available. Little Jo Berry’s will be providing vegan treats made without gluten and nuts. This is a physically accessible building with gender-neutral washrooms available. The presentation will be primarily in English.

This event is part of the New Ways Project, which is supported by the members of First United Church, the Ottawa Presbytery, and by the people of the United Church of Canada through the Mission & Service Fund.

Visit firstunitedchurchottawa.org for more information.

Meet John Almstedt, a dedicated water leader in our neighbourhood 

Submitted by Julie Barbeau –

For decades, John Almstedt has been working to protect the Ottawa River. He is one of the founding members of Ottawa Riverkeeper, the local volunteer-driven organization that works to protect the Ottawa River watershed. He was among a group of concerned citizens who brought people who cared about the river together, and through the first core team’s determination, Ottawa Riverkeeper was born. This organization has been on the front lines of water protection in Westboro and in communities throughout the watershed ever since. John was also one of its first Riverwatchers. Now, the Riverwatch Program has over 80 dedicated community volunteers who serve as Riverkeepers’ eyes and ears around the vast watershed. 

John Almstedt, Ole Hendrickson and Larissa Holman at the Ottawa Riverkeeper Celebration on the River event. Photo by Martin Lipman

John Almstedt also helped create a vibrant Westboro Beach hub. He firmly believed that having a place near the river that people could enjoy would compel them to protect it. He worked with academics and the City of Ottawa staff to improve water quality monitoring at Westboro Beach. He was also the catalyst behind bringing Moe Atallah’s Newport Restaurant to the beach – one of the few places you can savour a meal and drink beside the river.

Recently, Ottawa Riverkeeper created an award inspired by his contribution as a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability and as a dedicated community leader: the Watershed Community Impact Award. This award will be given each year to an outstanding Ottawa Riverkeeper volunteer.

If you’d like to find out more about how, you too, can help protect the river and follow in the footsteps of John, contact us at Ottawa Riverkeeper: info@ottawariverkeeper.ca. Who knows, Ottawa Riverkeeper’s next event in Westboro may turn into an epic international gathering like their last Westboro Beach Cleanup that brought together six ambassadors, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Boys and Girls Club, Mill St. Brew Pub, and other neighbours together to raise awareness about the importance of beating plastic pollution. See a short film at nordiccleanup.com/film.

Julie Barbeau is with Ottawa Riverkeeper.


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