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Car show makes for a creative Coffee Break

September 21 more than 400 Alzheimer Society Coffee Breaks will be held across the region

The Ontario Finnish Rest Home Association (OFRHA) has taken part in the Alzheimer Society Coffee Break since it's inception 21 years ago. They took it to another level Wednesday afternoon hosting a car show as part of their week long Coffee Break events.

Traditionally people will have coffee and then make an exchange for that cup of coffee for a donation to the Alzheimer Society. "Over the years it's really developed into people being very creative," said Resource Development Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie, Bea Fioramanti. "As an example, today with the car show here."

"The Finn Home is pretty amazing; they really throw themselves into this event," she said. OFRHA has been participating since 1996 and has won the Golden Coffee Cup trophy for this category several times. They have raised over $13,400 to date, and last year’s coffee break raised $1,273 for local services.

"A good portion of the residents who live here have some form of dementia or Alzheimer's in some stage," said Heidi Slotegraaf, manager of program and support services for OFRHA. "I think it's important that we promote the organization that we refer our loved ones to." 

"Also it's an activity our residents like to be involved in."  Residents sign up to volunteer to sell coffee cups and treats. "They're often being taken care of, so this is their way to give."

Many of the residents from the four buildings took in the car show today.  "Every person that I've brought has said 'that was my first car growing up,' so there's a bit of reminisce therapy."

Other OHFRA events this year include a pub night, bowling, dress down day, bingo, and the dietary department donates their snack collection money for the week. 

All of the money raised remains local for services like education, support, recreation therapy.

"We're very proud that we've been able to extend our services," said Fioramanti noting that they need to fund raise 52 per cent of their operating costs to keep their doors open and provide the services they provide at no cost.

In the last year the Society has been able to extend their Minds in Motion program and have added an in-house recreational therapist.

"Someone can come into our office and receive grassroots services. They don't need to go down this journey alone," she said. "We have professional staff there that can help guide them down the journey and help them navigate the healthcare system, let them know what type of services we provide, as well as the other services providers in the city."

If you are interested in making a difference by hosting a Coffee break, the Alzheimer Society will deliver a kit to your home or workplace containing posters, a coin box, a 300 mg tin of Melitta coffee, and information on how to host a Coffee Break.

More than 400 host sites in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District will be raising their coffee cups in this year's campaign.

"We see the need, that is growing each year, and we try to fulfil that need as much as we can," she said. "It all depends on the fundraising."

For more information or to host your own Coffee Break, call Bea at the Alzheimer Society office at 705-942-2195.