KAWARTHA LAKES – The Municipal Retirees Organization of Ontario has recently donated 7,000 dollars to local charities and organizations across the region.
The Municipal Retirees Organization of Ontario, MROO, is a not-for-profit organization that advocates and supports the rights of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, OMERS, members.
OMERS is a Canadian pension fund created by Ontario provincial statute in 1962 to manage the retirement benefits of all local government employees in the Canadian province of Ontario.
MROO is divided into nine zones across the province and due to COVID-19 restrictions, many events and conferences were cancelled in 2021. The Board of Directors decided to put these savings from those events back into their local communities.
Director of Zone 9, which includes Simcoe, Grey, Dufferin, Victoria, and the District of Muskoka and Kawartha Lakes, Cindy Snider and her team, donated to the following 12 local Salvation Army Food Banks in the region:Bracebridge Community Church, Collingwood Community Church, Fenelon Falls Corps, Georgina Community Church, Gravenhurst Community Church, Huntsville Food Bank, Lindsay Community Church, Midland Community Church, Orangeville New Hope Community Church, Orillia Food Bank, Owen Sound Community Church and Barrie Bayside Mission Centre.
According to Snider, who joined MROO prior to retiring, each zone chose the charity they felt would best need help during these unprecedented times.
“In Zone 9, our group chose the Salvation Army Food Banks, it made sense to choose them as they had food banks set up all across our zone and we knew the money donated would be going directly to the people in the community who need it the most,” she said.
In 2020, MROO donated 63,000 dollars and another 63,000 dollars in 2021 to various organizations and charities across the nine zones in Ontario, added Snider.
“Each zone and their teams chose what organizations they would donate to and in some areas, groups chose to help smaller charities or large ones, some seniors groups but all the donations went to groups that have been impacted the greatest due to Covid, many of the zones chose food banks and women’s shelters as well due to people having to use services, they never imagined they would have to use,” she said.
Snider noted that the pandemic has impacted MROO greatly as they have not had the ability to meet with their members face to face, which was a vital component to connecting to members while hearing what they would like MROO to do on their behalf.
“What Covid has done has made us think outside the box and develop new ways on how to bring information to our members in a meaningful way,” she said. “I think Covid also has given us the time to focus on building the memberships and the services we provide. As retirees many of us would have been travelling and with the constraints imposed, we’ve had to stay home. I know for me having MROO has kept me very busy where many others who have been volunteers in other organizations haven’t been able to continue.”
According to President of MROO, Keith Robicheau, MROO is all about supporting and advocating for their members and local communities.
“We couldn’t be happier with the efforts of our Zone Directors to continue to connect with and support their local communities during this very difficult year. Through grass-roots initiatives and community outreach, MROO continues to be a pillar of support across Ontario,” he said.
For those who are interested, Snider added that any OMERS retiree or active contributor can join MROO at any time. To join or for more information on MROO, visit, www.mroo.org.
“At this time MROO doesn’t take monetary donations, we are however always looking for volunteers to get involved in their zones,” said Snider. “Our volunteers are retired OMERS pensioners. At this time, I would be happy to talk to anyone who fits the criteria of being a MROO volunteer for the Kawartha Lakes area and the District of Muskoka.”