Tree of Lights campaign boosts quality of life at Manor

LITTLE CURRENT—This year’s Manitoulin Centennial Manor Tree of Lights campaign is especially near and dear to organizer Wendy Gauthier’s heart, being aimed squarely at improving the quality of life of the long-term care facility’s residents.

This year’s Tree of Lights campaign project is a courtyard renovation to provide residents with a comfortable place to get out and in fresh air despite pandemic lockdowns.

The tally so far is officially $40,491.75, noted Ms. Gauthier, but the real number is significantly larger than that as donations have been coming in steadily.

“I think what is really helping us this year, and is really important, is that people see the value in this project,” she said. “In the past, our projects have been for things that are critically needed by the Manor but couldn’t be afforded with the funding received from the province. This is something that is directly for the residents’ comfort and quality of life.”

In a bit of added good news, Ms. Gauthier informed the Manor board that an Island family has stepped up to offer the funds to finish the project. Not a small commitment, given the courtyard project target is in the $200,000 to $250,000 range.

“The family wants to remain anonymous for now,” said Ms. Gauthier. “I think that will be the case for a few months yet.”

But every penny raised through the Tree of Lights will be allocated to that project. “People donated towards that project and I think that it’s important that all the money raised goes to what people were told it was for,” said Ms. Gauthier.

In addition, Jennifer Harvey, the landscape architect who has been engaged to provide the design for the courtyard project and a professor at Sudbury’s McEwen School of Architecture, has offered her services to oversee the contractor’s implementation of the design.

“We have just lucked out on everything with this project,” said Ms. Gauthier. “Because it is a fundraised project, she is willing to do that for us.”