Writer responds to recent letters regarding Community Living

To the Expositor:

This letter is in response to the June 20 and subsequent letters of June 27 regarding hope lost in Community Living versus those who have been, and are in, the trenches serving the community and/or caring for family members with dignity.

Dear Willard, Travis, Micheline, Gary, Melissa and John,

Great to have met you in the news! I would like to invite you all to dinner at St. Francis Church, Mindemoya in September when once again a group of committed volunteers under the guidance of Gloria and Theo Taliotis join with as many as 20+ members of Community Living for a casual Sunday dinner and social. You ought to “be there or be square!” The dinner is in its fourth year. When was the last time you went out for Sunday dinner and played a little Crokinole (for the championship of the world) some Frustration, maybe Chinese checkers or Rummikub will interest you?

Our eyes were opened in a most delightful way when my husband and I joined the volunteers just over two years ago and found out that when the chips are down our Community Living Friends are up. It happened on a Sunday evening when our king pin leaders were going to be late. Generally they are there when the volunteers arrive and as our dinner guests arrive. The phone rang through into the kitchen, leaving a message to one of guests that they would be a little late. Our Community Living Friends who have come to own and look forward to this time together, went into action…extra tables set up to accommodate 30, chairs set around, cutlery on,(napkins too) the coffee on, kettle boiling to make tea. Together our friends responded and took ownership of the situation; as grateful receivers of hospitality they were returning it.

Willard, It would be good to carry on the conversation regarding the lack of affordable housing over dinner, with a mind to a hopeful strategy for change.

Travis, You sound like a class ‘A’ kinda’ guy and I would love to have been in your classroom when you were growing up. Sunday dinner is ‘on’ when you are back from Saskatchewan.

Michelene, what a mom you are for your daughter. I can only imagine how you have stood by her through the years.

Gary, thank you for informing us on geared to income living entitlement.

Melissa, from what you have shared you are living a heroic life. Bless you.

John, welcome to Community Living Manitoulin. Hope to see you at dinner some Sunday evening. Kudos to the parents in 1950 who refused to send their children to an institution. What a visionary history; let’s keep it going!

Community Living Friends gather at 5:30 pm and pay $2. each. Volunteers bring a salad, buns, hot vegetable or dessert…check with the chef and Oh yes, bring your game board or your guitar, we like to sing (and whistle)!

Mary and Tom Balfe