Eganville – Since coming to the community as the new owners of the Shell station, the Burn family has felt both welcomed and supported, so they decided to do something to give back through a fundraiser for the two local elementary schools.
“This was paying back the community who supported us through COVID,” owner Andy Burn of the Eganville Shell explained. “And in the winter, it is the local community that supports us.”
The family took ownership of the Shell in July 2019 and less than a year later COVID hit. As part of the community response to COVID an online group called “It takes a village” was formed and Mr. Burn became involved with that. He did a fundraiser early on and this fall he decided to do another fundraiser, this time to help children with the food programs at both Eganville District Public School and St. James Catholic School. One school has a breakfast program and the other runs a healthy snack program but the goal of both is to make sure kids have healthy food if they need it at school, he noted.
For this fundraiser he donated one dollar from every cup of coffee sold for the food programs. At the end of the month, they had sold 549 cups and had some cash donations so it totalled $628. Although pleased with the amount, he realized when he would divide it between the two schools it would only be $314 each, so the family decided to top up the donations by matching the amount.
“Our family decided if it was just $314 to each school it was just something on paper, but $628 for each school could make a real donation,” he said.
Mr. Burn said he was able to find out about the program and the need through Leeanne Dawson of the “It takes a village” group and she arranged for the donations to the schools.
“Last year we donated with a car wash and this year Lee said she could help us find a cause in the community,” he said.
Keeping donations local is important to him. In his native India he likes to donate to small, local causes which benefit people directly. He pointed out sometimes when donating to large organizations only a fraction of the money raised goes to the people in need.
“Even in India when I donate I like to donate to local organizations,” he said. “I like to donate to what I see directly. If I see a rickshaw worker with a heavy load, I can donate.”
Mr. Burn said knowing kids in the community will benefit from this recent fundraiser is meaningful for him.
“Sometimes kids are kids and maybe they did not have breakfast or forgot to bring their snack, but at the end of the day they are hungry and this can help,” he said. “If you look at it from a community perspective, everybody has a responsibility to help.”
This month the Shell is doing a similar donation, this time with all proceeds going to the local Food Bank. Every cup of coffee will see $1 donated for the Eganville Food Bank, he said.
“It has been a little slower so far, maybe because of hunting, so we are hoping it will increase if people know about it,” he said.
When speaking with the Leader, it was clear the Eganville Shell is a busy place with a lot of people buying gas, shopping for hunting gear and even looking at the extensive display of moccasins and clothing he has in stock.
“It is very steady busy,” he agreed. “And when Pizza/Pizza comes we will be even busier.”
The Pizza/Pizza outlet should be opening soon and he said this is just another way of responding to something the community was looking for. Since taking ownership the family has done extensive renovations at the building and the new pizza outlet is part of that.
Mr. Burn, who came to Canada in 2001, said he always had the dream of owning a gas station and he heard about what a wonderful community Eganville was before he moved here.
“My aunt used to own the Kaladar gas station, so this was always something we wanted to do,” he said.
He also has a business working as an immigration consultant.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader