House of Blessing receives sweet donation in time for Halloween

About 150 children whose families might not feel comfortable trick-or-treating door to door this Saturday will still be able to enjoy candy on Halloween after a recent donation to the Stratford House of Blessing.

Barry Clake, operations co-ordinator at the Stratford House of Blessing, holds one of the treat bags the food bank will be able to give to about 150 children this week after a donation by the Kiwanis Club of Stratford. (Contributed photo)

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About 150 children whose families might not feel comfortable trick-or-treating door to door this Saturday will still be able to enjoy candy on Halloween after a recent donation to the Stratford House of Blessing.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford provided about $525 in various treats that the local food bank is including in its deliveries this week.

With many families feeling anxious about traditional Halloween activities, and a number of events in Stratford focused on family vehicles to keep participants physically distanced, Theresa McMurray, the House of Blessing’s executive director, said the donation will provide Halloween treats to children this weekend who might not have received any otherwise.

“I thought that was great,” she said. “We’re already providing food to families with children, and this is just another resource to make sure they feel included. Every child loves candy, so we wanted to help the Kiwanis Club bless the community.”

Although their fundraising events have been shelved due to the pandemic this year, a particularly strong 2019 allowed the Kiwanis Club to send financial support to the House of Blessing, the Stratford Salvation Army and United Way Perth Huron in April.

Tom Edge, the club’s secretary, said this most recent donation, however, was an out-of-pocket gift from members of the club who wanted to make sure local children whose families rely on the food bank still get something sweet on Halloween.

“What I remember (about Halloween) as a kid is everybody’s comparing the next day,” he said. “Somebody who’s using the food bank isn’t going to be able to say, ‘oh, I got candy.’ You can imagine how they would feel, so we just said, ‘let’s do something.’

“We had about $525 and we went down to the grocery store and just loaded up carts.”

Challenged by the space at their physical location, especially once public-health guidelines were introduced, the House of Blessing used grant money to purchase a delivery van in August, although a small number of clients are still visiting the food bank by appointment.

The House of Blessing has been busy since then, McMurray said.

“(We’re) very much concentrating on how we can get food to people to the very best of our ability,” she said. “We have had a great response. It’s very easy, actually. They can do everything online. They don’t even have to come in if they don’t want to.”

More information is available at shob.org or by calling 519-273-3433.

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