Local potter’s efforts support Parkdale Food Centre’s Christmas Supper
By Charlie Senack
There is nothing more important than community for Kitchissippi resident and owner of Hintonburg Pottery Ginger McCoy.
“I really believe that community is at the heart of everything I choose to do,” said Ginger. “I started this pottery studio eight or nine years ago with that as the foundation piece. We slowly built it from just a couple of people working on it and now we have seven staff members and anywhere from 10 to 14 teachers on the roster who come in to work at the studio.”
Her sense of community, Ginger says, comes from her Eastern Canadian roots. Growing up in Newfoundland, she was exposed to a compassionate kind hearted lifestyle which she wanted to bring to Ottawa, her home since 1978.
That’s why almost two years ago, Ginger decided to help support the Parkdale Food Centre, a neighbouring organization that feeds hundreds in the community and offers a space to create friendship.
For two years, Hintonburg Pottery has hosted a fun day for the centre. This year, they tripled their donations from last year, raising $1,500 with more than 120 people in attendance.
“At Christmas time we had an open house and we invited the community to come in and make some bowls which the participants were able to keep,” said Ginger. “We donated our time teaching, our space and all of our materials. It was a full outpouring of resources and community coming together to support the cause.”
The money came at a crucial time for the Parkdale Food Centre which was busy preparing its annual Christmas meal. The money raised was able to feed well over 300 people in the community — an initiative which the centre is trying to get other businesses on board with.
“Hintonburg Pottery makes a big difference with us for funding and also increasing our business partnerships in the BIA area,” says, Deb Abbott, chair of the Parkdale Food Centre.
“The nice thing with the event was it encourages people to come with their friends or make friends, which is also one of our mission statements at the centre,” Deb said. “We want people to get out of social isolation and come and meet with us.”
The Parkdale Food Centre is branding itself as more than just a place to grab a meal. They want to help their neighbours who suffer from social isolation. They have started a knitting club on the first Wednesday of every month and regularly host social enterprises.
Ginger isn’t sure where this journey will take her, but she’s already planning other fundraisers to support the Parkdale Food Centre. She’s exploring the idea of having the centre’s clients make their own dishes — a project which aims to help fight loneliness.
“I think we are on the right path and it is because of all the things that make this a welcoming place where people can create and reconnect with themselves,” she said. “We all get so much pleasure when we do stuff from our hearts.”
After moving into the area in 1978, Ginger, who is originally from Newfoundland, quickly fell in love with pottery making.
She first joined a class in 1986, where her skills and love for the activity quickly grew. Ironically, she took that class at 1242 Wellington Street West, a building she would soon make her own and open Hintonburg Pottery.