A local business and a non-profit organization are recognized for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pottery Parties in the Hills and the Orangeville Lions Club are this year’s recipients of the community recognition awards.
“I started my business when I had my baby boy, and we captured his little hand prints and little footprints on clay on a ceramic piece when we were on vacation,” said Pottery Parties owner and operator Tanya Frew. “I thought Orangeville — the community I live in, love and want to raise my children in — doesn’t have it.”
While Pottery Parties Studio located in the Mill Street Mall, Frew altered her business model to accommodate customers by providing take-home ceramic painting kits. She delivered them to customers, taking precautions to ensure a safe drop-off. She was nominated for the awards.
“The community has taken it on, which I am super excited about,” said Frew. “When it first started, I was taking orders over the phone and social media. We’ve been trying to put this website together, and we are finally able to accomplish it."
She still delivers kits but finds her clients prefer the curbside option for now. This, as she plans her 15th anniversary of the business. There will be art-based celebrations to commemorate the milestone in May.
“I recognize so many little ones that are now grown up, and in 15 years, some of those kids are in high school. It’s pretty amazing,” said Frew.
She started out of her home and then gradually opened her studio downtown.
The Orangeville Lions Club focused on outdoor recreational amenities such as the natural playscape at Island Lake Conservation Area. The playscape was a collaboration with other organizations in town. It is completed now and has been turned into a skating rink in the winter.
They have held numerous food drives abiding by COVID-19 protocols and, over the Christmas holidays, collected 1,703 pounds of food and over $2,700 for the Orangeville Food Bank.
“None of us know the full implications COVID is going to have on the community, but we felt an obvious one is there would be more people having to rely on community programs to get by, day by day.”
The club has been part of the Orangeville community since 1949 and has assisted in bringing many community events and amenities to the area. They plan to host the home and garden show in spring 2022 as it has been cancelled two years in a row. It is a significant fundraiser for them.
As part of the ongoing recognition program, a donation to a local charity was required instead of recipients' plaques. Nominations opened in October. Council voted this week to donate $80 to the Orangeville Food Bank from the community grant program on behalf of the award recipients.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we look to our community heroes who are going above and beyond to help others,” said Mayor Sandy Brown. “A simple glimmer of humanity goes a long way in these challenging times. On behalf of Orangeville Council, I thank you for all that you do."
Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner