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Green Project Brings Grace to Community
A “green” building in Haliburton County, Ontario, has become a tourist attraction, a food distribution centre for local people in need and a thrift shop.

A “green” building made from straw bales, clay and other renewable resources – clearly designed to have a low environmental impact – is having a big spiritual and social impact in Haliburton County, Ont. The innovative building houses a food bank and a thrift store run by a local Christian group.

A “green” building in Haliburton County, Ontario, has become a tourist attraction, a food distribution centre for local people in need and a thrift shop.

The building itself, designed with energy and resource efficiency as priorities, was constructed in 2006 for $130,000 through the co-operation of the municipality, a local art school and a group called the Community Christian Concern Centre (4Cs) comprised of local churches.

With hot-water heating on the roof to provide radiant floor heating and rain barrels collecting water for the gardens, the building has become a tourist attraction as visitors and builders are fascinated with the green concept.

But it is what happens inside the structure that really excites the members of the 4Cs. One-third of the building is used for food distribution to people in need in the community and the remainder is a thrift store called The Lily Ann. The thrift store and food bank are run by a volunteer board of directors from six local churches and helped by a group of 40 dedicated volunteers who sort donations and stock the shelves. “This is the only store I know of that has merchandise arriving daily – even two or three times a day!” remarked one enthusiastic customer recently.

Money raised from the sales in The Lily Ann enables the 4Cs to fund community projects, including school snack programs, but also things like medical and dental emergencies for those who frequent the shop. Recently, the 4Cs paid for a community member who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit a local optometrist. Claire Sylvan is a local citizen who has watched the impact of the 4Cs grow: “I am so grateful to live in this caring, compassionate community, and the 4Cs is a huge part of that caring.”

Originally published in Faith Today, September/October 2008..

 

 
 
 
 

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