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Heroes of Heron Emergency Food Centre - Walkathon Volunteers

by Lynn Sherwood, November 2018

Our Heroes for November are the intrepid volunteers who embarked on our annual Walkathon the morning after six tornadoes ripped through our city. A bit of an adventure indeed.

We all arrived bright and early at St Thomas the Apostle Church, only to discover that there was no power – all the lights were out. More importantly, there was no way we could brew coffee for our walkers. As so often happens when the weather changes human plans with no consideration for our comfort, everyone pitched in to make sure we were well organized. One board member volunteered to wait in line – with half of the population of Ottawa - at the nearest functioning Tim Horton’s to resolve the coffee crisis, while the rest of the group traded war stories about their tornado experiences. The clear winner, in my opinion, was John Fraser our MPP, who had just organized an emergency shelter at Canterbury Community Centre for his constituents in Hunt Club whose homes had sustained tornado damage. He was remarkably calm about it all.

Despite the drama of the previous evening, Saturday morning weather was lovely, our walkers completed their trip in less than an hour, and, remarkably, raised a total of $8079.50 for HEFC. Every year this group assembles to raise the bulk of our annual donated funding for folks living in Ottawa South who are experiencing food insecurity. They canvass friends, neighbours, family and church communities for sponsors, walk 5 kilometers, and raise funds to feed hungry people they will never meet. Thanks to you all.

Filled with satisfaction following our successful event, I returned home, and e mailed a photo to The Vistas editor, Marsha Gosse. It was then that I was informed that Marsha had just that morning suddenly passed away. We were all in shock. Marsha has supported HEFC through the years both by making donations and through her role as editor of The Vistas. She has always been most patient with my last-minute submissions, edits and photos. We had been in communication just a day earlier.

Marsha has left a powerful legacy. She belonged to that group of people who are community builders, who touch our lives in many intangible ways through their involvement, kindness, passion and commitment to leave their corner of the world a little better that they found it. We all benefit from having known her. The board, staff, volunteers and clients of HEFC thank Marsha for all her good works and caring, even as our hearts go out to the loved ones she left behind.

As we approach the holiday season many community and youth groups, faith organizations and schools begin to plan concerts, special events and food drives for people experiencing food insecurity. The board of HEFC is pleased to meet with faith groups, youth groups and other community organizations to discuss our organization and to help plan holiday food drives. We love attending Christmas concerts on behalf of HEFC.

We are also pleased to make presentations – we have a PowerPoint presentation folks – at community events. You can contact us at: 613 737 9090 or

Heron Emergency Food Centre is located at 1480 Heron Road and is open 4 days a week to provide emergency food to people in need in Ottawa South.

Check out our Facebook page at Heron Emergency Food Centre @hefcottawa

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