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(Updated 10:30 p.m., Dec. 17)
Cumberland minor hockey team rises up to backpack challenge

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Security elves Salt and Pepper, played by Janette Smith and Lili Miller, confront the Abominable Snowman, played by Peter Frayne, in the East End Theatre production of The Christmas Adventure. Fred Sherwin/Photo

When members of the Cumberland Jr. Grads minor bantam Rep B team were presented with the challenge to raise money for a program that provides backpacks for the homeless, the group of 13-year-olds jumped at the chance.

In a little over two hours, the team managed to raise close to $1,000 going house-to-house and door-to-door. It was enough money to purchase 60 backpacks and fill each one with hygiene products, gloves, treats, and a Tim Hortons gift card.

Team manager Pam Brunette George said she and the other parents on the team came up with idea as a way for the players to give back to the community that has supported in their pursuit of playing the game they love.

"For so many years the community has been so good to us in helping to get the kids on the ice. So we decided we wanted the kids to do something to give back," says George. "The kids very aware and we wanted them to have that feeling you get when you do something good for other people."

"They were extremely excited. Extremely ambitious. They went house to house, door to door for two hours and raised almost $1,000, which in turn will pay for 60 backpacks."

The backpacks will be handed over to Backpacks For The Homeless, a program founded by Ron Pitrie that his expected to hand out more than 2,300 backpacks to Ottawa's homeless on Christmas Eve.

The initiative can trace its roots back to 2012 when Pitrie lost his home and everything in it to a fire. Although all of his belongings were covered by insurance, he had to rely on his local food bank to get through what was a difficult time in his life.

Wanting to give back, Pitrie attended the Shepherd's of Good Hope Christmas dinner in 2013 and handed out gift bags to the homeless people who attended the dinner. That led to Backpacks for the Homeless which Petrie started in 2014. In that first year he handed out 230 backpacks thanks to the support of Giant Tiger.

Last year, Pitrie and his supporters managed to raise enough money to purchase more 1,000 backpacks and the program expanded to include the Ottawa Mission, Ottawa Inner City Ministries, Operation Come Home, Centre 507, the Salvation Army, and Le Gîte Ami.

The program has doubled in size again this year thanks in large part to groups like the Cumberland Jr. Grads minor bantam Rep B team.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   

 


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