Spaghetti Dinner raises funds for victims of barn fire

January 28, 2015   ·   0 Comments

There’s nothing better than small town living when you need support.
On Saturday, January 24th, Amaranth community members pulled together to host a Spaghetti Dinner for the McIntyre family, who lost their barn to a devastating fire on November 19th, 2014. The incident claimed the lives of 27 cows, 13 calves and two horses. Only one animal, a horse, survived.
The McIntyre family spoke with the Shelburne Free Press two weeks ago, explaining that the fire did not just claim a barn, used by four generations of family farmers, and their livestock, but also their dignity when they realized they did not carry adequate insurance to cover the loss.
However, it could have been much worse.
The family’s dog, Mila a Jack Russel, saved the family from further loss, alerting the McIntyre’s to the fire, before it could spread to the silo or possibly even the house.
In an effort to help the McIntyre’s, a Spaghetti Supper & Silent Auction was held last weekend at the Amaranth Town Hall, organized by Danny and Julie MacIver, Melissa Cook and with help from Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver, with all proceeds going towards the purchase of new cattle. More than 200 people attended, buying tickets for $20 a piece, to support the cause.
The event raised $8,500, with further donations received through an online fund started by Karren Desgroseilliers (Dave’s niece) bringing the fundraising total to $14,000 – exceeding the initial goal of $5,000 by a long shot.
“Community members, both old and new, from Amaranth and beyond came out to help with this event,” said event co-organizer Melissa Cook. “Also, would love to stress how important the volunteers and donors of all kinds were – we had an amazing team of people helping, and over 50 businesses from Shelburne, Orangeville, Grand Valley and even Alliston that didn’t hesitate in donating items!”
“The McIntyre’s are on cloud nine with the amount of support they have received from the small community of Amaranth, and they had a blast seeing everyone,” continued Cook. “We had so many donations from businesses in the surrounding areas, we didn’t know what to do with all them! We couldn’t fit everything on the tables we had, it was outstanding! We had so many volunteers that night, making the event run so smoothly. I can’t even stress how thankful we all are for all the donations and helpers.”
Although the online donation site has now closed (as of Jan. 24th) the post still remains, and the comments will bring you to tears: From
Raising money to help build back up the farm that has survived in our family four generations
“A little over a week ago I got the call that the farm my grandparents had started and passed down to my uncle had a tragic accident. It had caught fire burning down the building and all the livestock. The cows and horses were put in for the first time with the winter cold coming and had all passed away being engulfed in the blaze.
I cannot express just how many memories I have in my childhood visiting that farm over the years. This is a place where we went for tractor rides, helped with hay season, feed the baby calves, and walked through the cornfields. It is where I first learned to ride a horse, I learned the milking process, was chased and forever petrified of the white geese so on and so forth. It truly was a beautiful place and a wonderful experience to share with my cousins, aunt and uncle and other family members.
It’s already hard enough being a local farmer these days with all the huge factories popping up everywhere and producing mass amounts of product. I can only imagine the process my aunt and uncle are going to have to go through to build their farm back up to where it used to be.
I truly have an amazing family that has been so supportive over the years growing up, and I feel special to feel so close to my extended family where it doesn’t just feel like I have cousins but extra brothers and sisters I have shared my life with. So what better thing to do then show them the support they deserve. They haven’t asked for any help and say things like “it could be worse” and they keep focus on the fact the family home and members were safe which only shows more the modest and genuine nature they share. Every little bit helps as the insurance will not cover the livestock lost and part of the money has to go towards cleaning up and burying the remainder of whats left of the barn and livestock so that they can build again in the spring.
To help put it in perspective one adult cow can cost anywhere from $1000–$2000 depending on the market…
Thank you to all of those who have shared their kind words and shown support to them in this time, and big thanks to the three fire stations and all the firemen rotating to put the fire out before it could spread further and do more damage. Whatever you can donate is graciously appreciated and please share so we can reach our goal. Peace and Love.”
– Karren Desgroseilliers
After she was presented with the funds at the end of the night, Francine was in tears and said to the crows, “The money is nice, but the friendship is even nicer.”
The McIntyre’s have already spent their fundraising dollars, purchasing 14 new calves from Keady Market earlier this week. In an e-mail to Melissa Cook after the purchase, Francine said, “We’re back in business!”
Another small town takes care of its own once again.

By Wendy Gabrek

Ruth McIntyre (great-grandma)

Ruth McIntyre (great-grandma)



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