The vision of Haliburton’s churches to unite to better help people in need remains strong and in place after 40 years.

The Christian Community Concern Centre, knowns as the 4CS, celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Lily Ann Thrift Store Sept. 14. The organization recounted its history as dozens of patrons made their way through the doors to shop and show support.

Board chair David Ogilvie said it is remarkable how much the 4CS has grown over its four decades.

“Try to imagine, 40 years ago, a handful of ladies connected with the different churches in Haliburton started what is now the 4CS,” Ogilvie said. “I can’t imagine what they would think now to see what this has all turned into.

“It’s the community that makes it happen, it’s not us. It’s all the people that donate.”

The ministers of the local Anglican, United, Baptist and Full Gospel Lighthouse churches founded the 4CS in 1979. The ministers began offering counselling and providing some food gathered from donations, according to the organization. Since then, the group has grown to run Haliburton’s food bank, the Lily Ann Thrift Store and an array of other service programs, such as fire victim relief.

“It’s wonderful that we’ve actually been in business this long,” food bank manager Judy MacDuff said. “We’re giving back to the community.”

Angela Haedicke has volunteered with the thrift store since it opened in 1985. She said the store, which raises money for the food bank, is valuable to the community and offers a friendly atmosphere.

“Everybody’s very helpful and you can feel the spirit in here. It has something to do with sharing, giving and being there for each other,” Haedicke said. “That makes it the best place.”

Peter Markle said he has shopped there since it opened.

“This place has just risen its profile over the years and it’s a valuable service to the town and to the cottagers,” he said. “They fill a niche because they see what people want and they provide it.”

Ogilvie said the board’s future vision is to find sustainable solutions so fewer people rely on the food bank. But he added the 4CS remains committed to providing food and support to the people who need it.

“Our desire is to eliminate the need for a food bank,” Ogilvie said. “Sadly, that’s probably not a reality.”

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