Thursday, June 13, 2024

Goshen Community Centre volunteers keep calm and carry on

  • February 15 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GOSHEN – Vandals who damaged Goshen’s community centre on Jan. 27 may have broken doors and steps, but not hearts in this tiny, resilient St. Mary’s community.

“We’ve reflected on that event a little bit, but not a whole lot,” said Goshen resident Lewis MacIntosh, long-time volunteer and one of four recent winners of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal from St. Mary’s (Debbie Findlay, Keith Horton, Donnie Fraser were also honoured).

“We’re taking a positive attitude, in spite of it.”

Added Laurie Anne Chisholm, one of the volunteers responsible for the community centre’s bargain shop: “Some of us stepped up and made it so we can utilize the front door again. The side door is closed up with plywood, but we’ve ordered the replacements … It’s coming together.”

Rickey Grover, who helps organize the centre’s community suppers and outreach meals, said, “We just changed a few locks so we could get in another way, but we’re back to full swing … It’s all good.”

Or, at least, it’s an improvement from last month.

As The Journal reported two weeks ago, vandals hit everything from roadside mailboxes to the Goshen centre — which lost its front steps and most of its back door — during a highway spree that stretched from Antigonish into Guysborough County.

RCMP found a burned-out, abandoned truck in a ditch near Giant’s Lake and believed it to be the vehicle the culprits used in the melee.

Still, while the police investigation continues, so does life here. Volunteers are planning a slate of new activities for people in the area.

“We just had a luncheon,” Grover said. “Plus, we’re starting to take some lunches out to single seniors in our area again. That’s about 15 or 16 people. We do two suppers a year and they are very important — our biggest fundraisers. We started them in 1995 and, when Covid was on, we did do some take outs, but people were very good to support us. Anyway, we’re fully back with that now.”

As for the bargain shop, Chisolm says it continues to be a big draw. “It has just snowballed [over the years]. People are so great to donate to us. We have so many coming into shop, a lot of the time from New Glasgow, who come once a month or sometimes twice a month. In the summer, we have all the cottage people.”

She added: “Covid came around, but we weren’t shut down very long. We had a mandate. We actually had a flood a few years ago and our shop kept the whole place going because we couldn’t have any suppers. We really do have a great bunch here.”

According to MacIntosh, ideas for new activities keep percolating.

“We have some people saying it would be nice if we had some first-aid classes and healthy eating classes. Perhaps we can get a walking club together. There’s also estate and wealth planning we’re hoping to have somebody in here [to talk about that]. It might be nice to try a community breakfast, maybe a trivia night or a weekly coffee drop-in.”

He added: “People here feel we need to move on.”