SCUGOG: Throughout the year, the Scugog community can be counted on for its generosity in assisting with and donating to any number of local causes.
From helping with everything from Christmas toy drives to new animal shelters, local residents are never short on goodwill.
And now, the recently-formed Megalore Group aims to capitalize on that charitable spirit, by hosting a series of semi-annual events to raise money for charitable endeavours within the township.
The group’s mission statement - ‘to assist community members within Scugog Township who are faced with life-altering challenges and in need of financial assistance not obtainable through insurance plans or government programs’ - will guide Megalore through its fundraising initiatives throughout the calendar year, which will pool all proceeds and put them toward any number of good deeds.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the group held its first event - a 1950s sock hop dance - at the Port Perry Masonic Lodge, which ultimately helped raise _ to be put toward a local cause. As of Oct. 18, Megalore director Glenn Willchuk said that 110 of the 150 tickets available for the event had already been sold.
According to Mr. Willchuk, Megalore hopes to raise at least $10,000 per year.
According to founding member Lynn Doucette - who put the group together along with husband Jim and Mr. Willchuk - Megalore hopes to host four different fundraising events each year. In addition to the recent dance, events such as curling bonspiels and golf tournaments have also been suggested. The three initial members of Megalore are also involved with designated driving service Keys To Us, of which Mr. Willchuk is a general manager (Mr. and Ms. Doucette work there as drivers). As a result, Keys To Us is providing its services to attendees of Megalore’s events.
The Megalore group, said Ms. Doucette, was the result of a desire to help people right in her own community, a drive which became somewhat hampered by the rules governing charitable organizations.
"A few years ago, I wanted to start a charity to help local families making under $25,000 per year," recalled Ms. Doucette. "I was told that I couldn’t put an income ceiling on a charity, because you can’t turn anyone away based on how much money they make."
The answer and inspiration for Megalore came from across Lakeridge Rd. in Uxbridge, where the Gorgons community group has had much success raising money for local causes in a similar manner in recent years.
"We wanted to replicate what they (the Gorgons) have done in Uxbridge," said Ms. Doucette. "We said ‘why can’t we do that here?’"
"The concept," added Mr. Willchuk, "is that we’re a non-profit that looks to support Scugog residents exclusively. It’s about friends and neighbours helping friends and neighbours."
Within weeks of putting the idea forth, the Doucettes and Mr. Willchuk soon found that many of their friends and neighbours were happy to help out and provide their assistance to Megalore, including many who were able to apply their specific skills, such as a web designer who provided the group’s web site free of charge. Many local businesses have also offered to help with future events, said Ms. Doucette, by offering services or items to be raffled off, several of them without any prompting.
As for the name, ‘Megalore’ was straight out of the blue.
"We were sitting down one night trying to think of something," recalled Ms. Doucette, "something with substance and power. Jim blurted out ‘Megalore’ - which was the name of his great, great, great grandfather."
Megalore is always looking for new members to assist with its projects. Annual membership fees are $25 for individuals and $100 for businesses (who will be listed as official sponsors of the group on its web site), and members will be informed of upcoming events and success stories through regular newsletters.
For more information, visit www.megaloregroup.org.