Loretta Sauder is a cheerleader for volunteerism

Loretta Sauder

MINDEMOYA—Loretta Sauder has put a lot of time and effort into volunteer work in the short time she has been living in Mindemoya. “We came to the Island five years ago,” Ms. Sauder told The Expositor. “We lived for a while in Tehkummah then spent a winter in South Baymouth and moved to Mindemoya three years ago. I started volunteering two years ago and first got involved with the Sunday socials at Saint Francis of Assisi Church. Gloria and Theo Taliotis were doing the dinners for Community Living Manitoulin (CLM) and Gloria is related to my husband George so that is how I got started. Theo did all the cooking and then I would help serve the meals and afterwards everyone would play games and colour.”

Not long after beginning her volunteer work, Ms. Sauder met Janet Anning who has been a coach and coordinator of Manitoulin’s Special Olympians (MSO) for many years. Ms. Sauder got involved with the MSO teams and helps with the track and field, baseball and bowling teams and volunteers at the bluegrass festival held every year at the Providence Bay fairgrounds to raise funds for MSO athletes. Carole and Fred Hunter of Tehkummah taught CLM individuals how to square dance and Ms. Sauder also enjoys helping with this at the festival. She speaks with pride about her interaction with these athletes.

“They call me their cheerleader,” she said, “and they call me their paparazzi. And our curling team is doing awesome. There aren’t any world games like there are for some of the sports, but our guys and gals went as far as they could and are going to Nova Scotia next February to compete. They did really, really well.”

Ms. Sauder had also heard about the food bank in Mindemoya, operated under Manitoulin Family Resources (MFR), and loves putting in a lot of hours at Treasures, the thrift store in which goods are sold at a nominal price to raise money to buy groceries for those in need. “I just love helping people,” she said, “I like to see that special smile on someone’s face as they find a treasure that they maybe could not afford somewhere else. And where else are you going to find a winter coat for two or four dollars? And I love all the girls who volunteer at Treasures, they are great to work with. Also, I definitely try to give back, to help someone who is less fortunate than me. There was a time when I needed a food bank and it was there for me.”

Ms. Sauder has done a lot in volunteering at Treasures, from organizing last year’s Christmas craft show fundraiser to overseeing the recent changeover to summer wear. She also takes old comforters that come in to the shop, brings them home and recovers them and then donates the like-new items to the MFR shelter.

Ms. Sauder has been travelling back and forth to Manitoulin for about 30 years before she finally settled here. “I am still in awe of the scenery,” she exclaimed, “and the people here are just great. Everyone is ready to give you a hand and no matter what road you go down, you will always get a wave from someone. I was worried about the winters, but the winters are nothing. You just need a hobby and some good volunteer work to do. I am here for life now.”