Since 1995 when the London and Area Jeep Owner’s Club was founded it was founded on a not-for-profit platform in order to be able to contribute to both community and national charitable organizations. Each year the members nominate a few charities to receive the funds raised at the year’s events including membership, the show and shine, family day, the mystery run, raffles, and most notably Trailfest. For 2016 and again for 2017 the Merrymount Family Support & Crisis Centre has been one of the club’s beneficiaries.  This year the club members were invited to visit the center to both learn about some of the services they provide, and to show off the jeeps to any of the kids that were around that day.

Unfortunately mother nature chose to literally rain on that parade, as Saturday the 25th was cool and rainy for the visit to Merrymount. Luckily once you walk through the doors to the center, you find yourself in a warm and inviting place, staffed by kind and knowledgeable folks who were eager to show the 40+ members in attendance all the amazing things that Merrymount does. Merrymount has been in operation as an orphanage-turned-family center for 142 years. Originally founded as a protestant Orphanage, it has become a hub of family services. Their focus is to help children by supporting their families in times of crisis and transition. Merrymount’s goal is to keep families together during these times by providing ongoing support for a range of life issues or sudden crisis; these include parenting difficulties, custody disputes, domestic violence, eviction, teenage pregnancy, serious illness, new-to-Canada, or other stressful or difficult family situations. No two families receive the same program or treatment, as everyone is a special case at Merrymount. They provide a wide range of child and family programs as well as a crisis residential & respite program, which is 24 hour care and support for children whose families are experiencing a temporary period of instability, stress, crisis or transition.

There’s not enough room in one article to sing the praises of the incredible personalized care that Merrymount is able to provide, but we came away with a few key notes that are mind blowing to those of us who had no idea these things were happening in our own back yard – the center boasts 18 beds set up for 24 hour child care, and the approximate cost for one of these beds for a child for a 24 hour period is $270. In 2016 approximately 2300 children required the residential respite program for varying lengths of stays. Merrymount is primarily funded privately through fundraising. LAJOC is proud to have supported Merrymount in 2016, and expects to be able to continue doing so to the best of their ability for years to come.

The values of the Jeep family run deep, and it is a privilege to have found a local beneficiary whose values align so closely with our own.

For more information about Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre please visit their Website or Facebook Page. If you or someone you know many need the assistance that Merrymount offers please call 519-434-6848

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