Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Awesome is as Awesome does

Published on

Trustees had a real challenge deciding who would get this month’s $1,000 from Sarnia’s Awesome Foundation at its March pitch party.

“They’re all good ideas. It was tough to decide,” said Mat Berube, one of 12 trustees who, together, contribute $1,000 every month for a project to bring the best out in the community.

Since the foundation started last May, $11,000 has been given away to support 11 proposals, each selected at a “pitch” party like the one at One Tooth Active Wear on Front Street, where owner Patti Jo Pumple is an Awesome trustee.

Megan O’Neil and Karen Hebert were first to make their pitch to finance the first “Ignite Sarnia” event, to encourage local residents to talk about what they love about their city.

“Oh well,” said O’Neil when she learned they didn’t win. “We’re going to try again in April.  Ignite London events sell out and so can we.”

Angela Cook made her pitch for $1,000 to promote the Canadian Mental Health Association’s community bicycle ride on June 22. Her deserving proposal didn’t quite make the cut, said trustee Perry Jongsma.

“We urge everyone to try again. In this case, the majority of us thought the last pitch was the most awesome because it has so many layers of community involvement.”

That came from Karen King and Laura Hardy who, with Wilma Arthurs and Arlene Duckert, started “4 Friends,” a group that makes fleece-lined mittens and sells them to support Community Living Sarnia-Lambton (CLSL).

“We are overwhelmed,” said King, clapping and laughing when the trustees announced their choice.

The four friends plan to collaborate with Wawanosh Enterprises, a work centre for CLSL, and Pumple has offered to sell the mittens at One Tooth. They’ll also be available at CLSL (call 519-332-0560), which supports people with intellectual disabilities.

Since its inception, Sarnia’s Awesome Foundation has attracted as many as 19 proposals a month. The three top-rated ones attend the pitch party.

For details, visit

– Cathy Dobson

More like this