Days after Torchlight Services was left reeling from the theft of its entire wood supply for its day program for adults with disabilities, the Guelph community rallied around the not-for-profit and replenished the supply.
"I was so pleasantly surprised, I think I was in tears," said Patty Coté-Duncanson, Torchlight Services executive director.
The weekend robbery left the program at a loss after between 40 and 50 large pieces of cedar planks that had been donated by a board member's mother went missing.
“I am blown away,” said Coté-Duncanson. “I was a little ticked, but I’m not angry any more because people have come out and shared their support. It wasn’t a big thing to people, but it was to us.”
Within hours of the theft being made public, Coté-Duncanson said donations, emails and phone calls poured in from individuals and companies who sought to help the program participants and aid in any way to recoup the program’s losses.
"I kept going 'okay I've got four more (emails) to go before I catch up,' and then 15 more would come in," said Coté-Duncanson.
Kim Court, program coordinator at Torchlight Services, said the response was immediate with the community thinking that something bad happened and it was time to help Torchlight Services right away.
One donation from Superb Property Maintenance offered 45 cedar planks with free delivery, which was roughly the number of planks that were stolen.
Another generous beneficiary offered to donate $2,000 to Torchlight Services to recoup the estimated cost of the cedar planks that were taken.
Another donation given to Torchlight Services was a heavy-duty lock for the shed.
“I’m speechless. People are just so kind,” said Coté-Duncanson.
Coté-Duncanson said emails and phone calls poured in from across the community, with companies and individuals offering to hold onto extra wood until Torchlight Services is in need.
The donated wood will be used by the program participants to create and sell their crafts, with the money from the sales going back to the participants.
Coté-Duncanson said she is breathing a sigh of relief knowing the program will continue with supplied with wood for the next several years.
Court and Coté-Duncanson said on behalf of Torchlight Services said it was heartwarming to know their program has this kind of support from the community, and the amount of good in the community has overshadowed the negative feeling experienced when the discovery of the stolen wood occurred.