Pat Norman, representing the Antigonish Community Food Bank (left), and Mike MacDonald (right), representing the Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund, received cheques for $3,080 from the Town of Antigonish as a result of the Delightful December initiative.

ANTIGONISH: Thanks to the generosity of local residents, who paid into parking meters in the Town of Antigonish during the month of December, two local organizations received thousands of dollars.

Historically, the town would offer free parking to its patrons shopping in its downtown core during December but recently changed practices slightly by re-opening the meters for the month and donating the earned revenue to the Antigonish Community Food Bank and the Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund.

“The last two years, we’ve been doing this, and prior to that, the Town of Antigonish would give free parking to citizens on Main Street and in the parking lots, so that people could patronize the stores downtown and not have to pay for parking,” Mayor Laurie Boucher told reporters following the town’s regular monthly council meeting. “The last two years, what we’ve done, is we’ve encouraged people to still put money in the meters and we donate that money to those two charities. We do not enforce the parking meters; it’s a voluntary donation to those two charities.”

During the Town of Antigonish’s Jan. 16 council meeting, staff highlighted how each organization received a total of $3,080.

“It feels really good. It just shows that the citizens of Antigonish are very giving,” Boucher explained. “Christmas time can be a hard time for everybody, but still, people dig deep and give to two good charities that are close to everyone’s heart here in Antigonish.”

The representative with the food bank, Pat Norman, was overheard suggesting to other members of the gallery this was “nearly double” from last year’s donation from Delightful December. Mike MacDonald, who was representing the fuel fund, was also very appreciative of the generous donation.

“I know both the food bank and the fuel fund will be very busy this year,” Boucher said. “So we’re hoping that this will get them going a little further.”

Both organizations received a ready to be cashed cheque during the meeting.

“As we see, we have another successful year, which is even more than last year,” Boucher said. “It’s another example of how good people are in Antigonish to their neighbours.”

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Drake Lowthers has been a community journalist for The Reporter since July, 2018. His coverage of the suspicious death of Cassidy Bernard garnered him a 2018 Atlantic Journalism Award and a 2019 Better Newspaper Competition Award; while his extensive coverage of the Lionel Desmond Fatality Inquiry received a second place finish nationally in the 2020 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards for Best Feature Series. A Nova Scotia native, who has called Antigonish home for the past decade, Lowthers has a strong passion in telling people’s stories in a creative, yet thought-provoking way. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2016, where he played varsity football with the Hurricanes. His simple pleasures in life include his two children, photography, live music and the local sports scene.