“Mice” help Aurorans in need with help from Oakridge Fashions

·3 min read

Mice aren’t something you normally welcome into your home, but hundreds of “mice” have found warm homes across Aurora this holiday season which, in turn, will help many Aurora residents in need have warm hearts and tummies this Christmas.

On Thursday, Oakridge Fashions owner Deb Clark presented a cheque of $3,600 to the Aurora Food Pantry. The donation came from proceeds from their “giving tree”: the sale of holiday ornaments in the shape of mice.

Ranging in various price points up to $12 a piece, 100 per cent of the proceeds from each ornament went directly back to the Aurora Food Pantry.

“We took this tree, stripped it once, twice, three times,” said Ms. Clark, welcoming Allison Stuart and Sandra Seepaul of the Aurora Food Pantry to the Aurora Shopping Centre boutique, which has now shifted to curbside pickup as a result of the latest lockdown.

“This is the fourth round and people have really responded. Yesterday, I sold nothing but mice. People care quite a bit and this community and wonderful bunch of customers that have supported me this year makes me tear up. I knew that if I let them in on this they would want to help with big, open arms.

“I could not be prouder to have the customers that we have at Oakridge Fashions. These people dig deep when they need to. They are always open-hearted. They not only supported this business during a very, very difficult season, but they responded to support the community as a whole. They are a special bunch of people and I am proud to know them. I also want to thank our partner in this, The Auroran, because their support and call-out of this initiative is what allowed [the Giving Tree] to achieve and exceed our goal.”

For the Aurora Food Pantry, Oakridge’s donation of $3,600 will enable them to not only help many Aurora residents make ends meet this holiday season, but stay well positioned to continue this help in the New Year, a time that is often off the public’s radar once the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is behind us.

“For us, this means we’re able to purchase things that people really need like dairy products like milk, cheese, and also things like fresh produce,” said Ms. Seepaul. “Even though people have given us a lot of the non-perishable items we need, we still purchase all of our fridge, frozen, and perishable food. This means we will continue to do that through the season and into the New Year.”

Added Ms. Stuart: “We look after what is needed today, but we also have to plan for January, February, March and beyond – the question mark that is in every year, but a big question mark of the pandemic this year. It does give us some flexibility so we can meet our commitments to our clients. We have said to our clients, ‘You will always be able to get these items,’ and sometimes that means we have to go and get money from the bank for these items.”

For more information on the Aurora Food Pantry, including an updated list of current needs, visit aurorafoodpantry.ca.

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran