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Events To Raise Awareness On Mental Health, Addiction

Events To Raise Awareness On Mental Health, Addiction

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown is hoping to raise awareness for mental health and increase the community’s understanding of the problem of addiction.

The church is partnering with the Mental Health Association to host events this weekend in remembrance of the 53 drug overdose victims from the past year.

This year marks the church’s third annual Recovery Sunday, although the church had held various services over the years highlighting mental health and recovery prior to establishing an annual tradition.

“Addiction and recovery isn’t just someone else’s problem; it’s our problem,” the Rev. Luke Fodor, rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, said. “We wanted to make sure the community had this as part of its collective remembrance.”

Jessica Frederick, minister of children, youth and families, said the church will honor the victims of drug overdose by hanging prayer flags from the top of the bell tower to the Main Street entrance of the church for this weekend’s events.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.

She said strips of fabric have been written on in honor of those who died from a drug overdose over the past year.

“On each of the strips, we have prayers for those who have died and also prayers for healing and wholeness of the recovery community We invited people to write their prayers on the strips of fabric.”


This year, St. Luke’s Recovery Sunday events will begin on Saturday.

“We made a whole weekend out of it,” Fodor said. “On Saturday, we will start with an art recovery show.”

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.
P-J photos by Timothy Frudd

Fodor said in partnership with the Mental Health Association, an art and recovery class works on art throughout the year, which will be displayed at the Undercroft at St. Luke at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Food and refreshments will be provided at the event, celebrating the second year of the church’s art display.

Some of the art from the show will also be incorporated into St. Luke’s Sunday morning service.

Fodor said one of the pieces featured at the church will be a piece that was inspired by an anger workshop.

“Sometimes we suppress our anger,” he said. “We don’t really deal with it and it pops up in inopportune times.”

The art therapy workshop provided this year allowed people to express their anger through art instead of actions. The art will be displayed before the altar at St. Luke’s for Recovery Sunday.

As part of Sunday’s service, the church bells will ring in remembrance of each person who has died as a result of overdosing in the past year. The service will incorporate a candle lighting, a reading of the names or initials for the victims of drug overdose and special music performed by people recovering from addiction.

After the service, there will be a narcan training available. The art exhibit from Saturday’s event will also be available for the public to view before and after the Sunday service. Additionally, Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits will be selling biscuits after Sunday’s service.

“We have a joint enterprise with the Mental Health Association of Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits,” Fodor said. “It’s a social enterprise where we sell dog biscuits. People who have fallen out of the workforce because of recovery issues or addiction or mental health can get back in the workforce slowly by learning some skills.”

The church’s Recovery Sunday reflects the commitment of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to the idea that mental health is deeply connected with faith.

“This service is integral to the life of faith,” Fredrick said.


Recovery Sunday is one way Fodor believes the community ensure that the victims of drug abuse and drug overdose are remembered and honored.

One of the points Fodor wants to emphasize throughout the weekend’s events is the importance of connection.

“The opposite of addiction is connection,” he said. “So often, people feel disconnected, usually from themselves first and then the community, so they start to use various substances to deal with the pain. I think that’s true of all of us, whether it’s caffeine in the morning or whatever it is. We all have some sort of usage of chemicals to assist us to normalize our lives.”

St. Luke’s Recovery Sunday will attempt to remove the stigmatization of people who struggle with addiction and mental health.

Fodor said the community’s fear of people who struggle with mental illness or drug usage can lead to people passing judgment on them or labeling them as “outsiders.”

“My hope is that folks will see that this is something that we can make tangible steps by changing our minds,” he said. “So often, the mindset we use is part of the problem. My hope is that through these kind of collective actions that we will begin to realize that we can’t make them other, but realize that we are all part of the same issue.”

While Fodor acknowledged that the problem of mental health and drug abuse will not be solved “over night,” he believes the community can take steps to solve it by working together and having compassion for those who struggle with addiction.

Fodor said “real healing” occurs people have compassion for one another and work together to solve problems in the community.


Fodor believes the work of the Mental Health Organization represents the concepts of resurrection and regeneration.

“Lives that were seemingly dead come back to life,” he said.

Frederick said the church’s interactions with people struggling through mental health difficulties and drug usage should mirror the biblical example of Jesus.

“Jesus was always spending time with people that others would want to overlook,” she said. “This is an essential component of our faith to see people as people. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what mistakes you’ve made or how you’ve been wounded. We all carry wounds and we are all in some form of recovery. That is how Jesus saw and interacted with people.”

Fodor explained one of the key ways to successfully navigate the battle of addiction recovery is to provide meaningful connections with people.

While people may have the desire to feel “whole,” he believes the concept of wholeness cannot be achieved without the community working together.

“They need to be connected to something greater than themselves to find that,” he said.

The task of creating connections is something Fodor believes the church should be responsible for. He said the church should not expect people to attend the church to find help, but that the church should be involved in the community.

“Jesus talked about the 99 sheep that were fine but the one that was lost,” he said. “Sometimes we need to go out and look. By partnering with the Mental Health Association and by making public art displays, we’re trying to say and communicate ‘we’re looking for the lost.’”

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‘Tractor trekkers’ raise record amount for Eden Foundation in event’s 15th year

Fifteen years ago, Armin Enns, the chair of the Eden Foundation at the time, came up with the idea of a vintage tractor trek through area villages as a fundraiser.


The fifteen-year milestone of the event happened this past Saturday.


Director of Development with Eden Foundation, Jayme Giesbrecht says 54 tractors were registered for the trek this year, which is higher than they’ve seen in a number of years.

“This isn’t the highest it’s ever been, however, we were so thrilled that 54 people were willing to take the whole day to spend time on their antique tractors and just have fun with us,” said Giesbrecht. “We’re really glad we could honour Armin’s idea. And to this point, over 15 years, we have raised almost $ 1 million. So, in the coming years, we will hit that milestone and it will be another exciting chapter.”

This year, the 54 ‘tractor trekkers’ brought in a record amount through the event for the Eden Foundation, raising $78,375.

The money will get divided during the foundation’s granting season. However, Giesbrecht says they first need to get a better idea of what the needs are in each of Eden’s organizations, including Segue Career Options, Recovery of Hope, and their housing and supports.

“Linden Place we have in Winkler, and then in Steinbach, we have some housing facilities as well, and in Winnipeg. In Steinbach right now, we’re working towards a kitchen upgrade, a commercial kitchen that will allow people to kind of re-learn cooking techniques, and community meals…that’s one big way the money will help. There are always upgrades to be done at the (Eden) mental health centre, and so there are a variety of ways that this money will help, but it is helping in a big way to provide that hope and that healing and community that our vision statement says.”

A number of vintage tractors are lined up in a straight row.“What was really neat this year was to be able to start in the City of Winkler at the Emmanuel Church, because that way some of the folks in Winkler were able to line up on 15th Street and see the tractors go by,” noted Giesbrecht. “Terrance Klassen, our photographer got some really neat photos of these vintage tractors with modern style houses in the background, and it just shows how far we’ve come.”
A number of vintage tractors are lined up in a straight row.Supplied photo
Two men on their antique tractors surrounded by beautiful yellow fields. Photo by Terrance Klassen – provided by Eden Foundation. 


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Give Local events raise thousands of dollars for nonprofits in Southwest Virginia

Give Local events raise thousands of dollars for nonprofits in Southwest Virginia

Give Local Alleghany Highlands is officially underway!

The 24-hour fundraising event uses social media to help local nonprofits raise funds and continue to support the community.

This is the second year that Alleghany Highlands is hosting this fundraiser. Last year, the event was extremely successful and organizers hope to have the same success this year.

Every organization has the chance to win big with $35,000 in prizes. Each donation that is made helps nonprofits have a greater chance of winning those prizes.

Early giving started on May 24 and all donations made will go toward the overall fundraising prizes for Give Local.

“We’ve got quite a few different types of prizes being offered during the event because we really wanted to design the prizes in a way that every organization that is participating can get a little bit of money out of the event, at least from us and also to make it that so it is really engaging for the donors,” said Daniel Grizzard, the Program Coordinator for Give Local Alleghany Highlands.


An example of one of the ways nonprofits can win extra prizes is through a computer system. It will randomly select a donation every hour and boost it with an additional $200.

There are 35 organizations participating in the fundraiser. Daniel said this is not only a great fundraising opportunity but a great chance for the public to learn about all the nonprofits available and the work that they do in the community.

A similar fundraiser is happening in the New River Valley in just a couple of weeks. On June 22, you can take part in a full day of giving.

To help out, you can go online and scroll through more than 100 different organizations in the NRV that can use your support. Some of those nonprofits include Mountain View Humane, Agape Center, Feeding Southwest Virginia and the Community Group.


“We have organizations small and large participating, but I would say something that they all could use is just more capacity with more people power and not every budget can accommodate that,” said Lindsey Gleason, the Assistant Director for the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. “So, I think something like this is a great way to raise more money, which is also really needed.”

Last year, more than $519,000 was raised as part of Give Local NRV.

Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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London, Ont. event looks to raise funds, share stories of those impacted by war in Ukraine – London |

London, Ont. event looks to raise funds, share stories of those impacted by war in Ukraine - London |

Members of the Ukrainian community in London, Ont., and several international students from Ukraine are expected to share their stories Sunday afternoon as part of an event aimed at raising funds to support the Canadian Red Cross and those impacted by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.

The London Multicultural Community Association (LMCA) is spearheading the initiative, in partnership with several other local groups including the London branch of the London Ukrainian Congress, the London Ukrainian Centre and the Polish Combatants Association.

The event, set to run from 2-5:30 p.m. at the Polish Combatants’ Hall at 80 Ann St., just southwest of Oxford and Talbot streets, comes just over a month since Russia invaded Ukraine.

A poster for Sunday’s event.

London Multicultural Community Association

In that time, more than 10 million people have had to flee their homes, including some 3.7 million who have fled the country according to the United Nations. Another 6.5 million have been displaced within Ukraine.

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At least 1,081 civilians have been killed during the war and 1,707 have been injured, the UN says, noting actual figures are believed to be “considerably higher” due to reporting and confirmation delays.

“Many of them have friends and families in Ukraine, so they are updated on a daily, sometimes hourly basis,” said LMCA President Jack Malkin, referring to members of the local Ukrainian community who will be in attendance.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to learn firsthand what they are experiencing. Usually, in times of crisis or catastrophe, we look at the big numbers and we kind of move on, but when we hear personal stories, it’s easier for us to relate and actually educate ourselves about what’s really going on there.”

Read more:

UN probes mass graves found in Mariupol, Ukraine after Russian bombing

All donations collected during the event will go to support the Canadian Red Cross and its ongoing Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal campaign. The Canadian Red Cross says donations allow it and Red Crescent Movement to “respond to humanitarian needs in Ukraine and surrounding countries.”

Of the more than $82 million the Canadian Red Cross says it has contributed to the international Red Cross so far as part of its Ukraine campaign, two-thirds is going to support people in Ukraine, while one-third is going to help those displaced in surrounding countries.

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Click to play video: 'Ukraine’s cities devastated, Russia’s forces seemingly stalled 1 month into war'

Ukraine’s cities devastated, Russia’s forces seemingly stalled 1 month into war

Ukraine’s cities devastated, Russia’s forces seemingly stalled 1 month into war

Malkin says someone from the Red Cross is expected to be on hand for the event, as well as some 10 to 20 people who are members of the local Ukrainian community or international students from Ukraine.

The event will also feature a display of Ukrainian arts and culture, along with dancing by members of the London Barvinok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.

“It will be an informal event – not (one) that people will stand in front of the audience and speak – people can interact with them directly and ask questions and share experiences and so on,” he said.

Read more:

300 Ukrainians killed in Russian airstrike on Mariupol theatre, say officials

“We can’t even imagine how difficult it (would) be if houses around you (were) being destroyed or there’s a lack of food or health-care services. It’s really horrible to sit here and to be spectators to one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, probably since World War Two.”

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With no immediate end in sight to the ongoing conflict, Malkin says it’s possible that a future fundraiser may be held with a focus on local international students from Ukraine who may now find themselves with limited means.

“Their parents may not be able to send funds anymore. They may not be able to go back to Ukraine, so they will need some resources to be able to stay here… Perhaps when Ukrainian refugees come to London, we may be able to help them as well.”

Those unable to attend Sunday’s event can donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal campaign through LMCA via the Canadian Red Cross website.

Donations can also be made through the London Ukrainian Centre by phone at 519-686-9811, or by email e-transfer at

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Aeolian Hall benefit concert for Ukraine raises over $30K for Red Cross

It’s not the only event taking place in the city where Londoners can show their support for the Ukrainian people.

More than $30,000 was raised Thursday night for the Red Cross as part of a two-night benefit concert at London’s Aeolian Hall featuring 23 musicians and two choirs of around 57 people.

The benefit concert ends Friday night.

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— with files from Sawyer Bogdan and the Associated Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Why current events in Ukraine (should) raise questions about refugees in Greece

Why current events in Ukraine (should) raise questions about refugees in Greece

Migrants stand behind a fence at Karatepe refugee camp on Lesbos island, Greece in March 2021. EFE/EPA/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022 and the following events  have overshadowed all other developments and topics in Europe. The origin of violence and the threat of even greater destruction are not only at Europe’s doorstep; they have kicked in the door and are laying waste to entire cities and lives. With this development, the topic of and the rhetoric around asylum seekers and refugees has resurrected in Europe, having last been omnipresent in its media in 2015 and 2016. 

We, the team of our humanitarian maker space “Habibi.Works” in Greece, stand in solidarity with people affected by the war in Ukraine. While we are convinced  that it is the responsibility of safe countries to provide full, immediate support to all people  fleeing from the Ukraine, those of us who have been involved in the humanitarian response in Greece throughout the past years cannot help but wonder why solidarity is so easily extended by European countries now after hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have arrived in Europe in search for freedom and safety throughout the past years have been  humiliated, criminalized, neglected and excluded. To put this into context: while you are reading this piece, roughly one third of asylum seekers living in Greek refugee camps are suffering from hunger.

Each measure of control imposed by the Greek government is a stepping stone for yet future measures of control. 

The aim of this article is not to argue who is in more dire need of support. This article intends to shed light on some of the latest developments, human rights violations, and (entirely unnecessary) suffering of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece, at a time in which the topic of refugees is being harshly brought back to public awareness. 

The exact number of asylum seekers in Greece is unknown. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) only includes people who have officially registered at refugee camps or facilities, but not people who remain unregistered or undocumented. According to their website, at the end of 2019, the UNHCR puts the number of refugees and  asylum seekers in facilities in Greece at 186,000. The International Rescue Committee published a more updated figure, which estimates that 119,700 asylum seekers and 50.000 refugees currently reside in Greece. 

Walls instead of integration 

In 2021, the Greek government began constructing concrete walls around the refugee camps on mainland Greece. Facilities that accommodate men, women, and children for the time they have to wait for authorities to decide over their asylum claims (which can range from months to years) are being turned into prison-like enclosures. 

But refugee camps, while urgently needed and crucial as a first response in situations of emergency, especially in regions that generally or temporarily lack infrastructure, are not suited to accommodate people over extended periods. 

In Greece, empty buildings have existed in abundance since the financial crisis in 2010. There is no need for  anybody to live in a tent or container. The Greek state, instead of providing dignified living conditions in  existing buildings and thus, investing in the Greek housing market and the country’s economy, chose to let millions of euros seep away into the sand of unsustainable refugee camps. 

In 2016, the first year of our involvement in Greece, we assumed that the Greek government’s response reflected a refusal to admit that the arrival of people at their borders would be a long-term challenge. With the years passing, another likely motivation became apparent to us: the desire to control refugees and asylum seekers in centralized locations. 

Control in this way, however, leads to ever-increasing restrictions on people’s rights and freedoms. A refugee camp allows for walls. Walls allow for curfews (which already exist in some camps). Walls allow for the complete exclusion of local and international human rights observers, further reinforcing censorship already prohibiting NGOs from reporting about events occurring inside the camps. They prevent integration and understanding between the host communities and newcomers. In other words, each measure of control imposed by the Greek government is a stepping stone for yet future measures of control. 

The rest of Europe has been shamefully quiet in light of these developments and serious criticism  from political bodies is unlikely. After all, the budget of 28.4 million euros for the construction of the wall was largely provided by the European Commission. While walls are being built, Greece claims to lack the resources to provide formal education for  all refugee children. The budget invested in the construction of walls is the equivalent of the annual average wage of 1352 schoolteachers in Greece. How Greece chooses to invest this sum speaks volumes. 

The walls dramatically impact people’s daily lives and well-being. Moreover, they send the  clear message that refugees are not welcome here and as long as they stay,  they will be treated as prisoners. 

Hunger and human rights violations  

Turning refugee camps into prisons is not the only measure the Greek state has taken to  discourage refugees from attempting to find safety in the country. Last January, monthly financial support was reduced from 150 euros to 44,50 euros per adult asylum  seeker. The reduction in social allowances implemented in January took effect after three months during which no money was provided to people within the asylum process whatsoever. This level of audacity does not shock us anymore. What does concern us, however, is the impression that nobody in Europe seems to be asking where the money went that was supposed to allow men, women, and children to buy food, hygiene items, clothes, and other essentials.

The budget invested in the construction of walls is the equivalent of the annual average wage of 1352 schoolteachers in Greece.

As mentioned earlier, one consequence of this cut in allowances is that roughly one third of  asylum seekers living in Greek refugee camps are believed to be suffering from hunger. There  is no excuse for this situation. It is an absolute disgrace and completely unacceptable. 

Between March 1 2020 and January 31 2022, at least 26,755 persons experienced illegal  pushbacks by Greek border controls at sea, which put their lives, health, safety and freedom  at risk. During one particular case of illegal pushbacks, which occurred along the land border of Greece and Turkeyat the beginning of February after at least 12 persons froze  to death. Turkish Interior Minister Soylu accused Greek border guards of first stripping a group of 22 people of their shoes and clothes and then pushing them back into Turkey. The Greek Migration Minister Mitachari has denied this.  

Remembering solidarity 

The fact that people are being treated this way and that they live under the conditions  outlined in this article is not due to a lack of infrastructure or resources. It is, sadly, politically  intended. The current expressions of solidarity of various European countries towards  refugees from Ukraine need to reignite the discourse about Europe’s response to refugees in  general. 

The conversation must encourage a new level of accountability and solidarity towards refugees and asylum seekers, who have spent the last months and years of their lives  in some of the darkest places our continent has created. Treating people with respect and dignity, fostering integration and providing structures that allow them to become  participating, active citizens would ultimately have a positive effect on all of us.