Our History

Smithville Historical Train Station

Presenting a brief synopsis of how the West Lincoln Community Care became an important part of our community.

Divided into seven parts our history is briefly outlined. We look forward to the future with a helping hand from our entire local community.


On Thursday, March 22, 1984, five people of the Smithville United Church Mission Outreach and Social Concern Committee came together to work with Doreen Hutchison of Vineland, who had been involved in operating Community Care programs for 15 years. These were: Rev. Barry Bain, Doris Allen, Mary Hiscott, Grace Hull, and Florence King. Elders of the United Church Jack Sawyer, Eleanor Johnson and Violet Johnson were also involved.

From the West Lincoln Review we glean that an information evening was held on Wed. May 4, 1984 for all interested church groups, organizations, businesses and individuals at the Legion Hall on # 20 Hwy. Town Crier, Jim Green proclaimed this the month of May, “Community Care” month. In August, 12 churches joined in this effort: Bismark United, Caistorville United, Elcho United, Fulton Stone United, Ker United, Merritt’s United, St. Luke’s Anglican, St. Martin of Tours Catholic, Smithville United, Church of Christ, Smithville Christian Reformed and Smithville Presbyterian Church.

“West Lincoln Community Care” was officially the new name decided upon on May 29, 1984, for the organization, and a room at the United Church was assigned for clothing. A $30.00 donation from their Mission Fund was given to stock the cupboard with non-perishable food. One day a week was set aside for appointments for the recipients of supplies, with a different hour set aside for each family in need. Doris Allen was in charge of the finances and Mary Hiscott and Florence King first helped as clothing chairpersons.


Posters and hampers to collect the food donations were placed in grocery stores and in other public areas. Florence Dalrymple and Marg Doppelhofer were early volunteers along with Doris Allen, Mary Hiscott, Florence King and Molly Dickson.

Monies, clothing, furniture, dishes, bedding and toys were donated from the community, then teams of volunteers from each of the 12 churches took turns sorting the items. In the following months, many boxes of clothing were sent on to the Salvation Army, Wesley Ministries, and Amith as part of the United Church Mission Outreach Program.

In January 1985, it is noted in the minutes, that help had been given to 20 families in the previous year. A total of $1128.00 was held in a bank account for Community Care. New volunteers had come on board during the year. As well, a constitution and charitable donation number were worked on in 1985 with Patsy Clark as Chairperson. The constitution was finalized in April 1986, with the input of Doris Allen and Janet Zantingh. A Christmas Store (food basket, clothing and small gifts given to clients) was organized again for this year.


Care of children was a priority in these early years, with 31 girls from ages 6 months to 18 years, and 32 boys ages 2 to 18 years being served by the group. Jeans, underwear, crib quilts, cribs, furniture, washers and refrigerators were all in demand. By 1986, the large items were stored in Jason and Doris Allen’s barn. Husbands were willing volunteers too!

Garage and Bake Sales as well as donations with help from the Lion’s Club Food Drives maintained adequate food supplies and also paid rent, hydro, gas and medicine bills the clients found they could not. Expenses for Christmas in 1988 were shown as $1,216.88, for 1989: $1,859.21. In 1989, $100 worth of quilting material was purchased and quilts put together and “tied” at the United Church. This tradition continues today.

Food Vouchers received from Victor’s and I.G.A. grocery stores were distributed to clients. Visibility, advertising in local papers, and sources of income through donations were always at the forefront, and ideas were put into place to help our organization to have a presence in the community, to help it survive and grow.


The “Community Cabin” was acquired by renting the former Smithers Feed Mill on Griffin St. in 1990. The owner of the building, Dominic Ferari donated the use of this space for a donation receipt. At the Cabin, volunteers sold used clothing, toys, dishes etc., which had been donated to W.L.C.C.. The store was open 3 days a week, and brought in extra income. Volunteers worked under less than ideal conditions, especially during the cold winter months. When the Township of West Lincoln purchased the building in 2002, and tore it down, the Community Cabin was forced to close.

It is noted that in 1992 that Margaret Merritt and Bev Matajese purchased clothing for the Christmas Store, as they continue to do today; pajamas, socks, underwear and waterproof gloves are the main clothing items purchased.


Food from a special food drive was stored at Mary and Everett Hiscott’s home on Canboro St., so a new, larger location was needed for the food bank. Yet, it was not until June 1997 that W.L.C.C. moved into the Water Works building also on Canboro St. along with wooden shelves that Brian Allen had made. The Township of West Lincoln provided this space for a yearly rent of $1.00. A small area in the basement was used to store extra canned foods.

The Christmas store was set up yearly, in the dark, cement-floored basement, so volunteers were excited to be able to move to 2660 Industrial Park Road at the beginning of the summer of 2001, where Steve Witt, the owner of Stanpac, provided our group with space, free of charge, for our Food Bank, a storage area, and “glass walls” (skids of glass bottles, shrink wrapped in plastic) for our Christmas Store. Community Care volunteers began the Teen Angel program for Christmas 2000, where donors were asked to purchase a “wish list” items that each teen had identified. The gift was to cost between $30 and $40 with tax and was to be wrapped and identified with a special code assigned to each teen.


2001 was the first year that St. Luke’s Anglican Church donated $500 worth of turkeys and continues to do that each year.


In 2004, Cynthia Merritt, our local optometrist, offered us the storefront which had formerly been the “Lunchbox” restaurant, so much work was done to scrub, clean paint and strip and wax the floor in order to be able to move in. She continues to support Community Care by returning part of the rent expense as a donation each year.


The Community Cabin used clothing store is presently manned six days a week and is bursting at the seams with clothing and small household items. June Fitzgerald held the title of “Clothing Depot Manager’ in the old Smither’s Building and for a year into the Lunchbox location. Sue Priestly came on board in 2005 as a volunteer and then took over as Clothing Depot Manager with the assistance of Mandy Beijes. Presently Today the Cabin is managed by the Operations Committee which dedicates many hours each week to organizing and managing the many fundraising aspects of the Community Cabin, including Silent Auctions and Penny Sales. Many volunteers spend at least 3 or 4 hours in the Cabin each week, so funds can be raised to support the families of Community Care.

After a number of volunteers attended a “Funders” meeting, West Lincoln Community Care became a charitable corporation in Ontario on June 10, 2004. The first directors were Marguerite Clark, Charleen Green and Janet Zantingh. As part of the Incorporation process an updated Constitution, Mission Statement and By-laws were put into place.


A generous supply of non-perishable food, a turkey, apples, orange, cheese, margarine, eggs, chocolates, candy toiletries, new clothing, toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, books, crayons ( and a blanket to some families) are dispensed to registered families for a three day and evening period in early December, by willing volunteers. About 52 families were served in this effort in 2004. Monthly Depot meetings were moved to the W.L. Council Chambers instead of at the Depot.

On October 18, of 2005, in the Legion Villa 1 Craft Room, Community Care held an Interim General Meeting outlining the short term goals of setting up a new Board Structure, raising funds to cover the budget and hiring a Program Manager. On Tuesday, May 30, 2006 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Offices on Canboro St. the new board structure was approved and the following members of the community were accepted as Board members for Community Care. Janet Zantingh, Chairperson; Linda Barker, Vice-chair; Marg. Clark, Treasurer; Charleen Green, Secretary; Vesta Kleinendorst, Murray Packham, Bonnie Smith, and Steve Witt, each serving a four year term.

On May 31, 2007, Charleen Green retired after many years of service as secretary to the Board. Linda Barker and Bonnie Smith also stepped down. Claude Lazenby, Harry DeVries, and Cheryl Ganann joined the Board. Cheryl became the Secretary and by December 2007, Harry had taken over the Treasurer’s job from Marg. Clark.

October 20th of 2007 was the first annual Murder Mystery Fundraising Dinner held at Covenant Christian School. With a Western theme, many silent auction items and a mystery to solve the evening was a huge success.


Today Schools, Churches, Service Clubs, Organizations, Businesses and individuals are still the main contributors of food, monies and services.