Volunteering to make a child’s life better: Linda Taylor

Linda Taylor

SPRING BAY—It is hard to imagine that Linda Taylor, busy with a cleaning and catering business, can find time to be a volunteer, but she always manages to help others.

When Ms. Taylor’s children, Diana who lives in Espanola, and Chris, who makes Nova Scotia his home, were young she and her husband Bill fostered 18 children with one young girl staying for nine years and another for two and a half years. As well, Ms. Taylor coached ringette for youngsters and had a great time playing broomball in Providence Bay on her family’s team. For many years, Ms. Taylor taught 4H classes and was grateful that, when another teacher retired, she was able to teach cooking and sewing classes along with her mother Mona Lewis. “We would instruct about eight to 10 kids,” Ms. Taylor explained, “and we would teach cooking in the spring and sewing or quilting in the fall.” Ms. Taylor’s quilting skills have helped many Islanders over the years, from raising money through raffles for the ringette teams to giving them to family members at holiday time and for wedding gifts.

Ms. Taylor’s baking prowess is also well known, and recently, when she heard that the food bank was having a bake table at their annual yard sale, thought nothing of whipping up 10 pies to donate for the fundraiser.

For the past 20 years, Ms. Taylor has been the organizer of the Kagawong fish derby held every August. She is the president of the Spring Bay Fish Club and over 60 boats usually participate in this derby, which is a fundraiser for the Starlight Foundation, a charitable organization that works in hospitals and out to help children with serious illnesses. Ms. Taylor and her daughter have been named wish granters for children on Manitoulin and the North Shore by the foundation. This spring will see the installation of an entertainment unit, valued at $7,500 and complete with flat screen TV, Nintendo Wii and a DVD player, to be placed in Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury on behalf of the fish derby. These units can go from room to room and it is expected that the use over the unit’s lifespan of eight years and over will impact over 4,000 children. The work that Ms. Taylor and the many volunteers do for the fish derby is not the only action that supports kids in need as many of the fishermen who win cash prizes at the contest, give their prize money back to the Starlight Foundation.

Ms. Taylor and her husband, who were both born on the Island, have done a lot of travelling over the years with trips to the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, but her favourite place is Manitoulin. “One of the nicest holidays we ever had,” she said, “was when some friends came up from southern Ontario and we travelled all over the Island doing the touristy things. Of all the places I’ve been, the Island is the nicest. I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world. It’s home and there is no place like home.”