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Harriston Kinsmen Club raised $12,100 for local victims of June 23 flooding

by Patrick Raftis

MINTO - A fund organized by the Harriston Kinsmen Club distributed over $12,000 to local victims of a massive flood last June.

The club set up the fund in July 2017 to accept and distribute donations for victims of the June 23 flooding, which was described as a one-in-a-hundred-year rainfall event and the worst to hit Harriston since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. An estimated 175mm of rain fell overnight causing widespread flooding and damaging many homes and businesses.

“It’s just great that you guys stepped up and took this on,” Mayor George Bridge told Kinsmen president Paul Hope, who attended  the Feb. 21 council meeting to provide an update on the fund.

Hope explained the fund was set up for “people in need that didn’t have insurance, or didn’t have as much coverage as they thought they did.”

Noting numerous other organizations and individuals, more than 20 donors in total, contributed a total of $12,100, Hope stated, “It was great to see the community come together for this.”

The largest single donation to the fund, $2,500, came from the organizers of the annual Drew Community Centre Board Barbecue.

“They were our first donor and our biggest donor and they got us off to a flying start,” Hope told council.

Hope noted the Palmerston Lions Club also made a major contribution of $1,000.

Individuals also found innovative ways to raise funds. A local youth, Sam Faulkner, raised about $146 by setting up a stand to sell lemonade and baked goods.

“Several Kinsmen went and tested out the lemonade and it was delicious,” said Hope.

Another individual fundraiser was Harriston Legion Branch 296 president Ken Reuber, who raised more than $500 in pledges by shaving off a mustache he had been growing since he was 16 years old.

“His wife and children had never seen him without it,” Hope pointed out.

Hope said every applicant received some money from the fund, which all went to flood victims except for about $40 spent on banking fees.

Councillor Mary Lou Colwell congratulated the Kinsmen Club on the effort.

“That was a devastating day for a lot of people and you really helped them out,” said Colwell.

“We’re here to help however we can,” said Hope.

Ironically, the fund update came on a night when Harriston was hit by another flood, albeit on a smaller scale, as the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority estimated over 50 millimetres of rain fell on the area overnight on Feb. 20 to 21.

An update on the June 23 flood was also presented to council at the meeting.  

The town, along with Wellington County and the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) are planning to host a public meeting to update the public on May 29, at 7pm at the Harriston-Minto Community Complex.

The meeting will include presentations from MVCA staff on the causes of the flooding, the reaction of various agencies and plans to mitigate similar flooding in the future.

The public will be able to offer input and ask questions of town, county and MVCA staff.


March 2, 2018


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