In 1982, a small group of women and men inspired by a film series “Focus on the Family”, began discussing how to take action to address the needs of this community – Beaver Valley Outreach began!
The women from this group worked with local churches to identify and coordinate the provision of Christmas Hampers for families in need. Food, toys and clothing were donated. So much clothing was left over, the group decided to make the items available to the public health nurse and so The Clothing Depot began operating out the basement of Ian and Muriel Shaw. Word spread and donations accumulated quickly!
After participating in an “Opportunities for Advancement” leadership training course, in 1985, group members realized that they needed some useful training in order to address real needs of people in the community. The search for answers resulted in the creation of support groups for women. Some of the women were single moms, some had small children and needed guidance and support, some needed transportation to appointments, etc.
BVO continued to operate with volunteers and a small amount of Christmas cash donations, which were made mainly by churches and service groups. Fundraising was required, so several small projects were developed including the first BVO cookbook.
Community involvement expanded to include year round assistance to those in need. At this time, BVO started to develop programs to also meet the needs of children and seniors.
BVO became known in the wider area, resulting in talks with the Ministry of Community and Social Services in late 1987 to apply for a Community and Neighbourhood Support Services Program grant. This action necessitated incorporation in February 1988. By-laws were written and an eight member Board was formed with wide community representation. Our charitable status was also obtained in 1988.
The Clothing Depot moved from the basement of the Shaw’s to a net shed, to the basement of the Town Office building, to a store front in Clarksburg. In 2001, BVO purchased the Old Fire Hall, which today we own, free and clear! The 64 Bruce Street South location is where we now offer clothing and household items from our Treasure Shop.
BVO currently offers approximately 20 programs and services such as children’s programs, youth music, transportation and visitation. We employ 9 people from our community on a regular part-time basis. In 2007, BVO celebrated 25 years of service to our community!
BVO continues to expand as we try to meet the needs of our growing community. We embrace the generosity of our volunteers, our staff, our donors and supporters and take great pride in "making good things happen in our community".
We think it is important to identify the first BVO Board, our founding members:
- President - Diana McGregor;
- Vice-President - Norine Baron;
- Secretary - Hazel South;
- Treasurer - Rochelle Demerse;
- Directors - Michelle Fleming, Bill Houghton, Doris Kaye, Marjorie Stewart, Barb Swanson, Ingrid Vander Schans and Spiro Vozoris.
Thanks to their initiative, our community has a unique organization, which addresses a variety of needs – and thanks to all those who are currently involved with BVO, we hope to achieve great feats in the future!