PHOTO: Employment Centre staffers Michelle Gushulak and Denine Richard present the Non-profit Award of excellence to Community Food Bank board members Rick Geurts, Guy Durand, Anita Lyons, Yvonne Treffer, and Tammy Beyak.
The Community Food Bank won the Atikokan Employment Centre Not-for-profit Excellence Award, at the Chamber’s business awards gala May 18.
“The food bank is open six hours a month, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the commitment made by its core of eight volunteer directors,” said the Chamber.
They are the first to point to all the community support they enjoy, from the rent-free space in the Voyageur Mall, to the volunteers who help serve users – over 100 households regularly rely on the food bank – to all the groups and organizations that lend a hand with food drives.
But when it comes time to collect the goods and get them stored… When the bills come in – they do pay utilities, and face other expenses… When the Thunder Bay Regional Food Distribution Centre calls with an offer… it is the directors who answer the call.
The Food Bank has charitable status, which is great for donors, but it means financial operations have to be thorough, and completed to government-proscribed standards, on time.
But in the three years since it took over from the ANFC, Anita Lyons, Rick Geurts, Yvonne Treffer, Guy Durand, Brian Jackson, Tammy Beyak, Julie Slack, Eve Shine, and Debbie Beyak have made it work.
There were two other nominees:
Thirty years on, the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation continues to impress by uncovering new routes to growth and prosperity for Atikokan.
The agency won provincial, national, and international accolades for its work on several fronts the past couple of years. It was instrumental in the formation of the Heart of the Continent partnership, a cross-border effort to show the world what a wonderful place we have here, and then went one better by helping it team up with National Geographic to launch a geo-tourism website. If you are a modern traveller, you will know the huge value of that.
It launched Tourism Atikokan – a website (close to half a million page views and counting) and branding campaign (Atikokan: Naturally Wild). Just a note on Naturally Wild – the idea was never to dump canoeing capital, but to develop a branding that would fit with everything from quilt shows to 4×4 races. The whole prize winning effort was done a shoestring, comparatively speaking, and drew the attention of towns and cities with whole departments of tourism officers.
Sarah Young has been involved with the Girl Guides of Atikokan for seven years.
This year, 26 girls ages 5 to 12 were active in Sparks, brownies and guides. There are also Guiding programs for teens, Pathfinders and Rangers, which have been offered here when there were interested girls and leaders.
Young, one of six volunteer leaders here, is the point person for the Girl Guide units in Atikokan and is passionate about teaching girls to do things they have never done before. Some of the projects they tackle are on a national level and others are on an international level. Last year, they prepared hygiene kits for Syrian refugees and a few years ago the girls made dresses out of pillowcases. They also do things like planting trees with the Scouts, work toward badges in a wide range of areas and disciplines, and participate in a Thunder Bay day camp.