$100,000 ways to say ‘thank you’

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In conjunction with its 100th anniversary year, Soo Mill and Lumber Company Ltd. has dispersed over $100,000 in donations to community organizations in Sault Ste. Marie, Elliot Lake and surrounding areas. The family-owned business has outlets in both cities.

The donation program was unveiled during Soo Mill’s 100th anniversary launch event last May.

“The applications for funding that came in reinforce how fortunate we are to live and work in communities where so many diverse groups and organizations do so much to improve the lives of others and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy,” said Soo Mill President Lynn Hollingsworth.

“Thanksgiving is an excellent time to pause, reflect on our good fortune and express our gratitude for their efforts. Soo Mill, our employees and the Hollingsworth family are honoured to help some of these organizations to do their important and often very difficult work. These donations also provide another way for us to give back to the communities that have helped our company succeed over the past century.”

Therapeutic Ride Algoma (TRA) is among the donation recipients. The charitable not-for-profit organization provides recreational and therapeutic horseback riding lessons for children and adults with special needs. Participants enjoy the emotional and exercise benefits of riding in an environment made safe by the presence of certified instructors, therapists and horse professionals.

A short video about TRA and its use of Soo Mill’s donation is available here.

Following are some of the other organizations and activities being supported by the community-focused $100,000 initiative:

Algoma Autism Foundation: a grass roots support group providing a sensory lending library, accessible social situations and other support for children with autism and their families.

Animal Assistance Group (TAAG): a non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterinary care, spaying and neutering, foster care, shelter and food for abandoned, sick, injured or abused animals.

Back to Basics: an after-school program for children in the downtown core of Sault Ste. Marie.

Breaking Away: a local support group for adults with developmental disabilities.

Community Living Algoma Queen Street group home: a home for older, quite severely handicapped gentlemen from our community operated by support workers who truly care for their clients.

Quilts for Kids: a new charity in Sault Ste. Marie whose members make comfort quilts for children in the Algoma area who are coping with a serious illness, are in crisis or are living in poverty.

Sault Search and Rescue’s Project Lifesaver: a proactive preventative program that provides transmitters to persons prone to wander due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, autism and Down syndrome.

Teen Challenge North: a home that provides food, clothing, shelter, counselling, education and work experience for young men from Northern Ontario who are seeking freedom from life-controlling addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Videos about these organizations and how they are making a difference can be seen at soomill.com.

Soo Mill’s website includes a full list of all donation recipients and five historical videos that trace Soo Mill’s evolution from 1915 to 2015.

In addition to the donations, Soo Mill held a series of Saturday charity barbecue events that raised over $15,000 for 35 organizations in Sault Ste. Marie and Elliot Lake during the company’s 100th anniversary year. Charity barbecues will continue at both locations during the spring and summer of 2016. Watch for information in early 2016 about how to participate in next year’s barbecues.