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Sold out crowd aids Hope of St. Joseph Shelter


The Hope of St. Joseph Shelter held a pasta dinner fundraiser Sunday evening at the Columbus Community Hall in Amherstburg.
The Hope of St. Joseph Shelter held a pasta dinner fundraiser Sunday evening at the Columbus Community Hall in Amherstburg.

The Hope of St. Joseph Shelter got boosted thanks to a fundraising dinner on the weekend.


A pasta dinner was held Sunday evening at the Columbus Community Hall with just shy of 170 people selling out the event. A final fundraising figure is estimated at $3,000.


Hope of St. Joseph president Larry Allen said shelter founder Father Donato Lwiyando “sparked” many people locally during his time as a priest at St. John the Baptist Church in Amherstburg and has continued to do the same since he moved back to the D.R. Congo, where the shelters are located.


Father Donato thanked the organization and the supporters in a video.

“Thank you to the corporation who helps us be who we are,” he stated.


Allen said Father Donato has “amazing energy” and what started out as one shelter has now expanded into three. A girls shelter was originally founded known as St. Joseph Shelter, while St. Mary’s has since opened for boys. The third shelter is for pregnant women and new mothers.


Father Donato also helps to feed 250-300 street kids multiple times per week with beans and rice.


Mary Beneteau, secretary with the local corporation, said some girls come back to help those currently there. She said children and youth in the shelter become “pretty tight” and a family of their own.


“The shelter, for many of them, is their only home,” said Beneteau.


The education for the youth in the shelter is improving, with many attending school and doing well. Father Donato wants the students to continue on to post-secondary education, though Beneteau said they need help to pay for schooling even at the younger age groups.


“Nothing in the school system is free,” she said.


The Hope of St Joseph Shelter is hoping to gain additional sponsors for the children and youth, with Beneteau stating that money is vital. There are approximately 105 sponsors thus far.


“We need the money,” she said. “We’re happy with whatever we get.”Beneteau and her husband Marc host a massive yard sale every summer and plan on continuing that this year. Donations of clean, usable items that can be sold are requested, though large, heavy items are difficult for the organization to accept. 


“I get to meet some wonderful, generous people,” Beneteau said of the yard sale.


Organizers thank the kitchen volunteers for making the pasta, Romanos, volunteers that helped set up and take down, silent auction donations, families who joined our sponsorship program and everyone who attended.


For more information, please visit www.hopeislife.ca


By Ron Giofu

Sold out crowd aids Hope of St. Joseph Amherstburg Shelter

Sold out crowd aids Hope of St. Joseph Shelter

Sold out crowd aids Hope of St. Joseph Shelter

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