Muskoka To-DAILY

Miller highlights worst of times, best of times in Muskoka this holiday season

QUEEN’S PARK — MPP Norm Miller had lots of good and bad news to report to fellow provincial legislators during member statements this week.

MPP Norm Miller highlighted the plight of the homeless and hungry in Huntsville. However, he also cited the generosity of Muskokans.

MPP Norm Miller highlighted the plight of the homeless and hungry in Huntsville. However, he also cited the generosity of Muskokans.

First, the bad news:

The Parry Sound-Muskoka member noted what, sadly, most in his riding have come to know for certain for decades — and for certain in recent years.

That many residents are truly and honestly hungering for work and food.

He spoke about the the plight of the Table Soup Kitchen’s Men’s Shelter in Huntsville and to encourage residents to give locally and support charities like the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation.

Mr. Norm Miller: During the Christmas season, many of us give to those less fortunate. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation in Huntsville which operates a soup kitchen, food bank, exchange store and the only men’s shelter in Parry Sound–Muskoka.

While all of these services are very important, today I want to focus on the shelter. It opened one year ago this month, but its future is already in jeopardy. The shelter is funded exclusively by donations and, right now, they are facing a decision about whether they can afford to stay open after December 31. It is a small shelter with eight beds but, as I said, it is the only shelter for homeless men in the area.

Over the past year, the shelter has hosted 80 men. It offers not only a warm place to sleep, but meals, access to laundry facilities and a sense of community to the men who stay there. The shelter opens daily at 6 p.m. and the men are required to leave by 8 a. m. The foundation would love to be able to offer day programs but right now they’re focused on keeping the doors open.

Many local businesses support this shelter. I want to recognize that just last week the Huntsville Canadian Tire store donated $10,000 to the Table Soup Kitchen. To donate to help save the men’s shelter, visit

I want to encourage everyone to not only shop locally this holiday season, but to give locally and support important local charities like the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation.

Now the good news:

Miller highlighted various local charities and Christmas food and toy drives happening across Parry Sound-Muskoka to remind residents to give locally.

Mr. Norm Miller: “This holiday season, I’m encouraging my constituents to shop locally. Today I want to encourage everyone to give locally as well.

There are an impressive number of groups in my riding working hard to ensure everybody is able to enjoy the holiday spirit. My family and I recently filled shoe boxes with necessities and small gifts and donated them to the Muskoka Shoebox Project. This year, 1,092 shoe boxes were donated to women’s shelters in Muskoka region, the highest number ever.

In Parry Sound, the Adopt a Senior program is entering its sixth year. Last year, 126 Christmas gift bags were distributed to vulnerable or isolated seniors. This initiative is made possible by collaboration between West Parry Sound District Community Support Services, the Parry Sound North Star and Canadore College.

The Moose FM annual Christmas Wish radiothon raised an incredible $100,587 for the Salvation Army in Bracebridge, as well as $35,000 in Parry Sound and $41,000 in Huntsville. The Salvation Army provides hampers and toys to families in need as well as year-round services including counselling and emergency housing.

Around my riding and across the province, food banks like the Manna Food Bank in Bracebridge are seeking donations to support families throughout the holiday season and the winter months that follow.

Fire fighters and police often help collect food and toys. I want to commend the Burk’s Falls and area fire fighters for their annual Christmas food drive in support of the Burk’s Falls and District Food Bank. I also want to recognize the OPP Muskoka–Georgian Bay Auxiliary Unit for their Stuff a Cruiser event, which filled nine cruisers with toys.

I encourage everybody to give locally this Christmas so that all can enjoy the holiday spirit.”

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