Manitoulin Transport makes significant donation to Angel Bus fundraising campaign

GORE BAY—The Angel Bus fundraising campaign has received a huge boost towards its goal thanks to Manitoulin Transport and the Douglas A. Smith Family Foundation.

“We have just received a cheque in the amount of $20,000 from Manitoulin Transport, as well as the Douglas A. Smith Family Foundation, presented by Doug Smith (founder of Manitoulin Transport),” stated an ecstatic Sandy Cook, one of the members of the Angel Bus committee (along with Jan and Don Bainbridge and Ted Kilpatrick) on Tuesday. “This is just phenomenal.”

The fundraising campaign was initiated by the area residents to have a bus purchased to take residents of the Manitoulin Lodge to local events and local area trips.

Ms. Cook had previously explained the initial fundraising goal is $50,000 to purchase a used bus and cover the cost of running it for two years. This should give the committee time to get annual fundraising events in place. Annual operating expenses are estimated at $15,000.

“We’ve been involved with the Manitoulin Lodge for many, many years,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of Manitoulin Transport. “And my mom has volunteered at the Lodge for many years, and there are lots of seniors from Western Manitoulin who attend the Lodge; it’s like a who’s who of the history of Western Manitoulin. Because of all of this we think it’s great if the Lodge will be able through this bus to give some added independence to those who live there and be engaged in the community, be able to take in plays at the schools, go to the farmers market and just outings like take in the colours in the fall.”

“The bus will allow residents the opportunity to get out and enjoy these activities,” said Mr. Smith. He pointed out the $20,000 donation has been split up, $10,000 each from Manitoulin Transport and the Douglas A. Smith Family Foundation. “The Lodge is near and dear to Manitoulin Transport, our staff and our family, and with our foundation we can support the promotion of activities and initiatives in the area. The foundation was established about two years ago and we are adding funds to it every year to provide for things that are good in the community.”

“We have received other donations, like $250 from the Evangelist Anglican Church in Kagawong and others, but this donation of $20,000 really makes it possible to achieve our goal,” said Ms. Cook. $20,275 has now been raised in the fundraising campaign.

Ms. Cook noted the fundraising campaign put on the Dean’s Valu-Mart in Gore Bay to help with the purchase of the bus, “is going very well” as well. Customers are asked when they go through the check out lines if they would like to donate $2 toward the fundraising campaign.

The Angel Bus will be an accessible bus owned by the Gore Bay Manitoulin Lodge Auxiliary Inc., a charitable, non-profit organization. The purpose and objectives of the auxiliary are to advance the social, recreational, athletic, cultural, leisure and spiritual interests of senior citizens and individuals in need of long-term care and palliative care, aged 18 years and older, who are residents of the Gore Bay Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home and other senior citizens who are residents of Western Manitoulin.

If the fundraising campaign is successful the Angel Bus would ideally hold a minimum of two residents in wheelchairs and 8-10 other passengers. And when it is not being used by residents of the Lodge, the Angel Bus will be available to transport other Islanders on a cost recovery basis.

Ms. Cook added, “we are hoping to have the bus in place to use by this summer.”