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Town of Yarmouth gets national recognition for 100 Meals program, donates prize money to HOPE Centre

From left: HOPE Centre staff member Shelly Goodwin, Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, HOPE co-ordinator Linda Vickery and Doug Thistle, chair of HOPE’s games and activities committee. On Jan. 30 the mayor presented a $500 cheque to HOPE. The money was the monetary prize received by the town for being named a 2018 finalist for a Municipal Innovation Award.
From left: HOPE Centre staff member Shelly Goodwin, Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, HOPE co-ordinator Linda Vickery and Doug Thistle, chair of HOPE’s games and activities committee. On Jan. 30 the mayor presented a $500 cheque to HOPE. The money was the monetary prize received by the town for being named a 2018 finalist for a Municipal Innovation Award. - Eric Bourque

The Town of Yarmouth’s 100 Meals program was a great success when it was first held a year ago and the follow-up edition is more than matching that success, the town’s mayor said during a visit to the HOPE Centre.

The town was recognized for its 100 Meals initiative by being named a 2018 finalist for a Municipal Innovation Award – a national honour – and the recognition came with a $500 prize, which the town decided it would donate to HOPE.

The Municipal Innovation Award recognizes municipal governments for innovative projects that have made a big impact on their community.

On Jan. 30 Mayor Pam Mood presented HOPE with a $500 cheque.

HOPE is well-known for the various programs and services it has offered for nearly four decades, with a particular focus on helping people who have disabilities.

The HOPE Centre also was the site – on Dec. 3, 2018 – of the opening meal for the second edition of the Town of Yarmouth’s 100 Meals project.

HOPE representatives on hand for Thursday’s presentation included Doug Thistle, chair of HOPE’s games and activities committee, who said the organization is grateful for the donation.

“It helps support the programs that we’ve got up and running,” he said. “It takes money to run these programs – to supply food and what have you – so we greatly appreciate the support from the town.”

Two examples of recently launched HOPE activities include a weekday morning program where community members are invited to have a coffee/tea and a muffin and to socialize. More recently, another program began, this one a Wednesday afternoon gathering for seniors.

Mayor Mood used her visit to the HOPE Centre to thank the people there for all they do for the community. She also spoke about how the 100 Meals project came to be.

“While the initial thought was to help folks keep more money in their pockets for extra heating costs over the cold months by providing a meal a day, in the end it turned into an amazing community-building experience for all who attend,” she said. “The meals are there for those in need just as much as they are there for seniors who want to get out of their homes and make new friends and folks who simply want to have a ‘meal out’ instead of cooking.  It’s a humbling, beautiful thing to see everyone at the same table.”

In a press release issued about the Municipal Innovation Award, a spokesman for the national program offered his congratulations to the town.

“The Town of Yarmouth has faced incredible challenges and has rallied the community around a project that fills a real need,” said Quinten Griffiths, president of MuniSight, the award’s sponsor. “We love to celebrate governments who are focused on serving their residents well and, as such, the Town of Yarmouth is very deserving of being named a finalist.”

The winner of the 2018 Municipal Innovation Award was the District of Tumbler Ridge in British Columbia for their Global Geopark joint-brand campaign. Another finalist was the City of Lacombe, Alberta, which was recognized for its main street program.

Meanwhile, moments after presenting the cheque to HOPE, Mayor Mood was asked about the second edition of the town’s 100 Meals.

“It’s going great,” she said, “and the numbers are way up (compared to last year).”

She said the town would welcome any donations to the program.

“We need to get through to March,” the mayor said, “so anybody that wants to donate can write a cheque to the Town of Yarmouth, saying it’s for the 100 Meals, and you get a tax receipt.”

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