Rotary Club of Kitchener


February 1, 2021

Meeting Recording

A recording of Today’s Meeting can be found by clicking here.

President's Comments

President Louise sent a final reminder to all members to please complete a very very short survey (5 minutes) to keep us informed on your meeting expectations for the next 6 months as we continue to stay home and stay safe during these pandemic times.
Click here to complete this confidential questionnaire: Club Survey
Based on the great success and positive feedback from our joint meeting with the RC of Moscow International another joint event has been planned for April 12.  The focus for this meeting will the sharing of videos to illustrate the kind of community work done by each club.
President Louise was pleased to announce that we will be providing a cheque for $35,000 to KidsAbility this year as a result of the success of our Car Draw fundraiser last year.  The cheque will be sent this week and a formal presentation will occur post COVID.
Our community needs our help, please consider donating your Rotary lunch meal costs to one of the two opportunities by donating directly in the links below.......
The Rotary Road Scholars are ready for action! Ray of Hope normally holds its annual walk on the evening of February 20th - this year it is an individual walk event that allows us to walk any time up to that date. We will be entering a team this year and all those interested in being on it can register or donate online. This is yet another great opportunity to take the savings from our non-lunch zoom meetings and turn them into a fundraiser and support for another great local organization that needs our help during these pandemic times.
Registration and donations must be done online with the coldest night organization in order to get your tax receipt
Coldest Night - Register here for the RotaryRoadScholars
We’re Counting on You!
This year’s February Potato Blitz is going to look a little different. We’re inviting you to play a vital role in the fight against hunger, because the need for food in our community has not gone away.
House of Friendship - February Potato Blitz - Click here to donate


Sharon Gilroy-Dreher, from ToastyToes, our guest speaker
Happy Jar
Cheryl Ewing was pleased that, although her mother has issues with frequent falls right now, she was able to put into place an exercise program for her based on some of the work she is doing in her new Exercise Class for People with Disabilities.  As a result of the exercising her mother has been doing she was able to get up with just the aid of one other person after her last fall, something she was previously unable to do and had to rely on emergency services to get up.
Howard Pell was happy to join Jim Brown in wearing a hat to hide their COVID Hair!
Lew Ford was happy to discover that his inexpensive Apple ear phones have significantly improved the quality of sound during his online meetings.

Club Announcements

Paul Rostrup let members know that interest in our five club Catch The Ace is growing significantly now that the progressive pot has gone over the $11,000 mark.  All members are asked to continue to promote the fundraiser through social media or any other channel available to them.

Program Highlights

Our presentation today was from Sharon Gilroy-Dreher from ToastyToes, introduced by Mike Morrice.
Sharon is a senior HR Business Partner with a local angel investor.
In her spare time she’s a dedicated community builder, and as a graduate of Leadership Waterloo Region, she’s devoted many years to Committee and Board work with local charities. 
In 2013 she founded ToastyToes, an annual sock campaign.  To date, Sharon has collected over 126,000 pairs of new warm socks for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Waterloo Region.
In 2020 she pivoted from collecting physical socks to collecting cash, establishing the ToastyToes Fund with the KW Community Foundation.  Her fall 2020 campaign raised $55,000.
ToastyToes is an organization that collects socks for individuals experiencing homelessness.  Sharon was inspired to start ToastyToes in memory of her mother who passed away at the age of 80.  Her goal in the first year was to collect 80 pairs of socks but was amazed when she accumulated 492 pairs!
Here is how the program has grown over the years:
2013 – 492 pairs from 17 family & friends
2015 – 1,001 from 17 family & friends
2016 – 12,389 from 40+ companies & schools
2017 – 32,400 from 80+ companies & schools
2018 – 39,500 from 100+ companies & schools
2019 – 40,400 from 100+ companies & schools
2020 – $55,000 in the ToastyToes Fund
In some ways the program began to suffer from its own success and the sheer physical quantity of socks being donated was becoming a challenge.  As a result, and with positive encouragement from the agencies being supported, this year (also with COVID-19 in mind) the campaign turned to raising funds rather than collecting physical items.  This resulted in $55,000 being collected which was distributed to the following organizations, each making the commitment to use the funds for the purchase of socks:
  • Cambridge Shelter Corporation
  • Family & Children’s Services Foundation
  • House of Friendship
  • Marillac Place
  • oneROOF
  • Sanguen Health Centre
  • Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
  • The Healing of the Seven Generations
  • The Working Centre
  • Threshold Homes & Supports
  • Wilmot Family Resource Centre
  • Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region
  • Urban Hope Ministry at Cambridge Vineyard Church
  • YW Kitchener-Waterloo
Another highlight is that the program has been established in two other communities:
ToastyToes Guelph – Founded in 2018 with 15,063 pairs of socks and $15,382 collected.
ToastyToes Ottawa – Founded in 2020 with 1,267 pairs of socks and $1,002 collected.
Some of the notes of appreciation ToastyToes has received really tell the story of the positive impact the program has.
From Sara Casselman, Executive Director, Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
“ToastyToes is a blessing to the people who use our services, especially to the young women in our anti-human trafficking program. When you’re struggling to make it through the day, and secure the basic necessities of life, new warm socks are a simple thing that can make a tangible difference in your life.”  Sharon Gilroy-Dreher is a gifted and passionate community-builder. Through ToastyToes, she’s helped us fulfill our mission of wrapping survivors in community care. Thank you to everyone who makes ToastyToes such a success year-after-year.”
From Kathie Must, Manager, Philanthropy, Reception House Waterloo Region
What makes a warm welcome? 
Reception House Waterloo Region welcomes 300+ government assisted refugees to our Region.  Imagine fleeing war, violence and persecution, spending years in a refugee camp, and arriving in a strange country with little more than the clothes you are wearing, and it can be chilly!

Thanks to #ToastyToes, and an amazing community, part of the welcome is a warm pair of socks. "
From Jessica Bondy, Director of Housing Services, House of Friendship
“Our team at House of Friendship is so grateful for the ToastyToes campaign.  The men we serve at our shelter in Waterloo Region struggle with basic needs – even while so many Waterloo Region residents head into a holiday season of abundance.
This campaign helps to keep some of the most vulnerable people in our community safe and warm – there is no gift needed or more kind that that, especially at this time of year.
With gratitude and partnership, your friends at the House of Friendship.
From Michelle Steingart, Clinic Coordinator, Sanguen Health Centre
“Very often, we take for granted the little things.  Unfortunately, the items that most people take for granted are much needed by members of our community and thanks to ToastyToes, we are able to provide clean, warm socks to these individuals.  Through Sanguen’s Outreach Van Program and Mobile Health Clinic, we’re happy to be able to provide socks from ToastyToes to those most in need.
Hearing people say, “Thank you for thinking of me”, “I haven’t had warm socks for weeks, I thought my feet would freeze. Thank you”, “There’s nothing like clean, dry socks.  I’ll be able to sleep tonight and not be cold”, “I feel like today is going to be a good day. I got socks!”.
So, thank you so much, ToastyToes, for thinking of those in need and helping to make people feel seen, included and cared for.”
In conclusion Sharon asked if we would you please follow ToastyToes and help share their message?
Twitter - Instagram – Facebook

Closing Remarks & Reminders

Feb. 8 - Ross Newkirk - Kitchener Rotary Club Charitable Foundation
Feb. 15 - No meeting - Family Day
Feb. 20 - Ray of Hope walk - Coldest Night of the Year
Feb. 22 - Evening Club Workshop/Strategic Plan led by Adrian DeCoo - members only
Mar. 3 - Peter Gray - Not for Profit work around water (joint mtg on Wednesday with Kitchener Westmount
Mar. 8 - Tara Bedard - Immigration Partnership
Feb 01, 2021 12:00 PM
Feb 08, 2021 12:00 PM
Kitchener Rotary Charitable Foundation Update
Feb 15, 2021
Committee Meetings to be Scheduled by Committee Chairs
Feb 20, 2021
Volunteer - Join our Team or Donate -
Feb 22, 2021 7:00 PM
Members only - RCK Strategic Plan Review Workshop led by Adrian DeCoo
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Neil Swayze
February 1
Lew Ford
February 5
JB Moore
February 8
Cameron Yule
February 19
Wayne Boehler
February 28
Join Date
Lew Ford
February 1, 1991
30 years
Laura Mae Lindo
February 10, 2020
1 year