Pearce Williams Camp launches fundraiser to stay afloat
LONDON, ONT. -- It has been serving children and hosting retreats for several generations, but Pearce Williams summer camp in Fingal now says it’s on the verge of closing if it’s unable to raise significant funds.
Partially shuttered because of COVID-19, for the last month it has served as a quarantine facility for newly arrived migrant farm workers who will move on to various farms throughout southern Ontario.
Unfortunately, said executive director Joe Richards, that revenue is nowhere near enough to keep the facility open.
“Beyond the seasonal farm workers, if we’re not allowed any other income we’ll be out half-a-million dollars by the end of the year.”
The camp has launched an ambitious fundraising campaign, hoping to raise $250,000 to be able to stay open for the rest of 2020.
The alternative would be to shut down completely, said Richards, who stressed that they have no other choice but to go to the community for help.
“Staff are aware they would be laid off. The facility would be sort of mothballed and shut down for the winter.”
The camp has already cancelled contracts for most of the 34-40 seasonal staff who work there as counsellors.
The move comes as the camp marks its 60th anniversary.
Richards says they’re hoping to appeal to anyone who has had a personal connection to Pearce Williams.
“You don’t just exist for 60 years without touching the lives of many, many people. We’re going to rely on those people, and on the churches, and on our rental groups, and benefactors who can help and understand the value that summer camp gives to kids.”