A small group of people with big hearts is hoping to make a big difference on behalf of a Winnipeg clinic that helps children with hearing impairments learn to speak.
The local chapter of the Elks of Canada will be providing the second of two $25,000 donations to the Central Speech and Hearing Clinic later this week. The presentation will be the culmination of two years of fundraising efforts by members of the Elks Lodge No. 10 in Winnipeg.
Bob Palmer, the president of the Winnipeg Elks, said the national, provincial and local chapters of the organization have supported the clinic in one way or another since it opened in 1989.
The non-profit clinic, located in Fort Garry, offers various types of therapy and teaches hearing-impaired children how to speak. It is the only cochlear implant program in Manitoba for children and adults.
Palmer said the lodge decided to make a major donation to the clinic after selling its Winnipeg hall a few years ago. The first $25,000 donation was presented to the clinic last year.
"They do such great work… and give so much back to the community, and that’s what we’re all about," he said.
"We like to support our community, especially the children in our community and that’s what prompted us to make the donation."
Pam Campbell, executive director of the clinic, said donations like the one from the Elks are critical to the clinic’s operation.
Although 80% of the clinic’s funding comes from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Manitoba Health, and Family Services, she said that only covers the salaries of staff.
Campbell said the clinic must also raise funds to help pay for the cost of training staff, operational costs and rent.
She said the Elks organization has been instrumental in providing funding for many different projects over the years, but that she was blown away by the local chapter’s commitment of $50,000.
"I was flabbergasted when they contacted me (to tell me about the donation)," she said.
Campbell said that a large portion of the first half of the donation was used to help pay for the expansion of the clinic.
"We feel honoured and privileged they trust us enough for us to use their hard-earned money in the appropriate manner," Campbell said.
"These people are volunteers that are going out and using their free time to help organizations like us, and that makes it even more significant for me."
For more information on the Elks of Canada visit elks-canada.org. For more information on the Central Speech and Hearing Clinic, visit centralspeech.ca.