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Ottawa Citizen “Real Deal” Visits “The Hub” in Almonte!

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 by in Featured, Random Musings | 0 comments

Word has been spreading about our little Hub, especially as Hub Hospice Palliative Care is launched.  The Bird boys participated in a photo shoot for the Ottawa Citizen article, and I must say Jean Levac took some fabulous shots.  Since I am so very proud of all the Hub endeavours to accomplish, along with loving my guys to pieces, I share with you the article!

Problem: A post-Christmas budget combined with children who still need warm winter clothing.

Solution: The Hub, a nearly new shop in Almonte brimming with everything from winter boots ($2 to $4 for children, $6 for adults) to snowsuits ($5) not to mention teen jeans, toys and household items.

Bonus: Proceeds from sales at the non-profit Hub go toward launching a much-needed mobile hospice service for the area.

“Everybody shops at The Hub,” says Glenda Jones, the upbeat president of the organization that donates tens of thousands of dollars annually to community causes. “I bet you could dress a kid for less than $10 here.”

In fact, with baby wear priced at $2 and under, winter coats for young and old running $4 to $6 and men’s suits at $5, you could outfit the whole family — head to toe — for far less than a week’s worth of groceries. And you could do it stylishly: November’s Teen WOW Jeans Blowout, for example, featured brand names, like American Eagle, Aeropostale and Paige Demin at five bucks and under.

For the true bargain hunter, The Hub hosts a “bag night” every Thursday: For $5, you get to stuff a grocery bag as full as you can with whatever suits your fancy.

Established in 1975, The Hub (its formal name is the Almonte Community Co-ordinators) provides financial support to the community of Mississippi Mills, which includes the towns of Almonte and Pakenham.

With help from its sister store Rebound, also located in Almonte and which sells furniture, appliances and the like, The Hub donates an average $50,000 annually to scholarships, health needs, sports teams, seniors’ events and more, including a suicide prevention course for high schools. It has also given to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (that’s why it was founded) and Interval House for abused women.

“It’s a pretty amazing little business,” says Jones. “The secret is the quality of what we sell and that everything is donated.” And except for a cleaner and some folks who sort through the donations each night, it’s staffed by volunteers. The Hub also owns the building it’s in and rents out a second-floor apartment to cover the building’s operating costs.

In early 2012, The Hub, led by founding member Julia Thomas, launched Hub Hospice Palliative Care with a donation of $10,000. It’s since added another $3,000 from sales and community donations and will continue helping fund the hospice, which Jones says should be operational by the fall of 2013 at the latest.

Although she hopes the hospice will eventually include a permanent three- to five-bed facility, it will be a primarily mobile service — Jones refers to it as a “hospice without walls” — staffed by volunteers. Over a dozen people have already signed up to take the volunteer training course planned for the spring.

Offering emotional and caregiver support, light housekeeping, transportation and other assistance, the service will be free to people approaching the end of life whether in their own homes, retirement facilities or elsewhere. The hospice will initially serve Mississippi Mills and later expand.

“People get to the stage in life where nothing more can be done, but you can’t just write them off,” says Jones. “They deserve to live until they die.”

A part-time palliative care nursing co-ordinator, to be hired in the new year, will conduct an in-home assessment, pair clients with volunteers, co-ordinate with doctors and other health care providers, and help families navigate medical and other systems.

The service, which is being developed with partners like Almonte’s St. Paul’s Anglican Church, will also provide referrals and other assistance to family members during bereavement.

People in rural areas who need palliative care and their families have special problems, Jones says. Because there are few hospice facilities in smaller centres, those problems include long drives to hospitals or to palliative care centres, like The Hospice at May Court in Ottawa. “Rural people like to die at home,” says Jones and a mobile hospice could help them do that.

It would also take pressure off hospitals where too many dying patients spend their final days because no options are available.

Extraordinary to think that the initiative, not to mention a lot of money, for such a service is rooted in a neighbourly store where children snap up jigsaw puzzles and popular toys for $1 apiece and where wedding dresses can be found for $50.

Then again, The Hub has folks like Almonte’s Kevin Finner to keep it going. The retired engineer can be found in the store every day.

“It’s the highlight of my day,” he says. “I have breakfast and the first thing I do is go to The Hub. I know the money goes to a good cause and I like the people there.”

He buys something, even if it’s small, every visit. That’s included a bomber’s jacket for $3, books and numerous electronic and other gadgets.

“My whole family has benefitted from my shopping,” he says.

So has the landfill.

Jones says The Hub keeps about 3,000 pounds a month out of the waste stream.

Rebound also operates a drop-off service for electronics recycling.

What’s not sold in the two stores is donated to other charities. Jones says the organization has also outfitted families whose homes have burned down. In some cases, the families haven’t needed everything and either donated it back to The Hub or passed it along to others.

Jones, with a laugh, does issue a word of warning about shopping at The Hub.

“We’ve had people take off their coats and not looked where they put them. They were sold.”

If you go

Where: The Hub is located at 118 Mill St.; Rebound at 2470 Concession 8 Ramsay in Almonte

Info: Call 613-256-5225 (The Hub) and 613-256-1700 (Rebound) or visit

Check the site for specials, including an auction this month.

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