Mount Forest Lions Club donates $2,150 to HOPE committee

MOUNT FOREST – The Mount Forest Lions Club has made a $2,150 donation to the Healthy Opportunities Promoting Empowerment (HOPE) committee.

The HOPE committee aims to de-stigmatize mental health. It creates opportunities to talk about mental health through sharing information and ideas, advocating for services, and hosting community events.

The HOPE committee is made up of community members and service partners serving Wellington North and Minto.

“The Mount Forest Lions are really pleased to be able to donate the money to mental health associations within the Wellington North area,” said Mount Forest Lions Club treasurer Susan Wells.

She added the club held a food gift card raffle on April 30, with the proceeds designated for mental health in the community. HOPE was one of the organizations in Mount Forest the club chose to donate to.

“It’s only through the strong support of the community that we’re able to continue to help the organizations within the community that the Lions have typically committed to,” Wells said.

Promote empowerment

“Our purpose is to promote empowerment,” said Virginia Byers of the HOPE committee.

“We want to de-stigmatize mental health issues, because for too long they were not addressed well.”

Byers said the donation from the club will allow the organization to host a “lighthouse festival,” an event it has been planning for some time.

“Last year we had planned on doing a lighthouse festival, and this year we’re going to do a mini one, with the hope of expanding it next year,” she said.

The purpose of the lighthouse festival is to give people of all ages throughout Wellington North and Minto the opportunity to participate in mental and physical well-being activities.

“We’re hoping that the events at the festival will be mostly free of charge,” said Janice Benson, also a member of HOPE.

Benson added the organization hopes to hold more events in the near future, depending on when pandemic restrictions are lifted.