Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Reports from the community of Mishkeegogamang, ON (Mish) indicate that the first 50 beds are assembled and that by all accounts, “It's been a great experience.”

Karen Ward, FTC Canada First Nations Programs, reported that her team of young adults, most from the Mish Adventure Summer Program, have had a truly amazing time helping assemble beds and seeing the immediate impact it is having.

Parents are appreciative, perhaps overwhelmed by the generosity of the gift of bunk beds.  One young person commented, “Lots of people come up to Mish - but I've never seen anyone do anything like you are doing - giving us beds to make sure the kids have a place to sleep.” He said it's such a blessing for his people.

You can be a part of this work in the far North.  Your gift will go immediately to helping ensure children are not sleeping on a cold floor this winter. Click here to go to the Bunk Bed donation page or click the button below to make your donation immediately.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It was a partnership that started back in 2005 and culminated in a song!  “After the Song” was penned by multi-award winning Singer-Songwriter, Ali Matthews and added to a reissue of her Christmas CD, “On Angels’ Wings”.

Ali Matthews
On Sunday December 5th Ali held her Annual Christmas Concert in support of FTC Canada. The event held in Stratford, Ontario, at the elegant Church Restaurant, was hotly anticipated by people far and wide and was packed out.

During the concert, Ali talked about how “After the Song” came to be.  In thinking about the struggles of others around world, she could not help but think that, once Christmas ended, those people were likely still struggling.  It became clear to her, and she wrote:

Finding the lost, feeding the hungry
The motherless child without a prayer
Ending the wars, calming the angry
And soothing the souls in despair
When we can love a world that’s broken apart
That’s when Christmas will start

Ali will donate a portion of her concert ticket sales to FTC Canada to support the ongoing work of feeding hungry children in Canada and around the world.

You can receive a copy of “On Angels’ Wings” for a $20.00 donation.  Just click the button below to donate now. Please share this post with your friends so they can enjoy this special offer.
(offer available to December 17, 2010: we can not guarantee delivery for December 25, 2010)

On Angels' Wings

2005 Seasonal Song Of The Year*: "On Angels’ Wings"
2006 Seasonal Song Of The Year*: "Brand New Miracle"

Monday, November 29, 2010


It used to be that the phrase, “a person of character”, inherently meant “good” character. As we look at more than a decade where our politicians, business leaders, sports stars and celebrities have drained the previous positive inference, out of the word character, a ray of hope is emerging ... from our high schools.

It is one thing to employ a tag-line or slogan that includes the idea of building character in our students of today, it is another to build and implement programs that both teach our children and put into practice the principles held forth.

Meadowvale High School and West Credit High School in Mississauga are achieving integrity in implementing such a vision, by partnering with several vendors in the city and with FTC Canada. Together we are building bunk beds to send to First Nations communities north of Sioux Lookout, where conditions for families are deficient.

According to the 2007 Child Health Summit, "Living conditions for First Nations people rank 63rd in the world - comparable with developing countries - and one of the root causes of poor health in these communities."

A lack of proper sleep for children is detrimental to their development and health. Changes in sleeping habits can impair a child’s learning, memory and ability to concentrate. To try and address the problem of a serious shortage of adequate beds, FTC Canada has developed the First Nations Bunk Bed Program.  

This Christmas is the launch of a three-year program that FTC Canada has initiated with the support of major corporate partner, Vale.  The goal is to deliver at least 100 beds a year for three years to several First Nations communities.

“Our hope is to provide proper sleeping spaces for at least 600 children in these communities”, said FTC Canada’s First Nations Coordinator Karen Ward.

We have the support of many people, however, more beds need to be built, bedding and other supplies are still required and the product needs to be delivered to the Far North. We invite you to be a part of this vital project

Please CLICK HERE to help now!

Friday, November 26, 2010


It is not always possible to obtain video footage of the work we do with our partners, amateur or otherwise.

Over the last several years we have shipped tens of thousands of meals to our partner World Mission Outreach in Nicaragua. One of our donation partners involved in supporting that cause is the Ontario Christian Gleaners.

Here are some images that a volunteer has provided in thanks of the work that we have been able to facilitate with our Canadian partners feeding children in Nicaragua.

Cliff Cline
Vice President - Chief Operating Officer

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Unisync Canada President Carmin Garofalo talks to FTC Canada VP-COO Cliff Cline about the partnership that was formed and ultimately galvanized by the disaster in Haiti.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love From Guatemala

Medical Team In Action

Everyday in Guatemala put the Medical Team into a school room.  Schools or churches with classrooms are generally made available for us to use, and if they are not free that day, school children are given the day off like they were in Palencia.

The medical portion of the team this week was made up of 6 doctors, one paramedic and two nurses (two other nurses were on the team, one in dental and one handing out glasses).  They would split into groups of 4 each day, meeting up with their Guatemalan interpreters.  Set-up for the "doctor's office" required a chair for interpreter and "doc", chairs for patients, tables for various medical tools and then it was off to work.

You can see that it also became a small operating theater near the end of this video.  Dr. Muhn removed some non-dissolving stitches from a woman's C-section as they were creating a reoccurring infection in her abdomen.

Day 5: Heartbreak in El Morlon

“My heart’s just breaking.” the doctor said to me, tears accompanying her obvious anguish.

A little 9 year old boy had been brought to the clinic today here in El Morlon by his aunts. They were deeply concerned. He had not been eating enough and was vomiting, something was clearly wrong.

Paola and Daniele
As Dr. Sasha High and her interpreter Paola spoke to the boy he began to tell a story that was no doubt the source of his sickness. A year ago his parents left him to go to the US and they have not been heard from since. His parents left him behind.

What do you do with this emotion? How do you treat it? Can you prescribe a pill, some sort of medicine that will make it go away? I think you know the answer.

Dr. Sasha and Paola could only listen like they have never listened before. The cried with Daniele and held him hard in their arms. In this midst of all this there was a sickening realization that that he had not only been abandoned by his parents, but there was a distinct possibility he may never see them again.

Dr. Sasha with Daniele
In the exchange of tears, Daniele told his care givers that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. With a sense of urgency and love they told him that he was very special and that they loved him very much.

With each word came more heartbreak.

Outside there are hundreds of families that I can hear talking and laughing. If I look out the window I see beautiful, idyllic country, a lake in the distance, mountains and blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds. If I pretended for a moment, maybe close my eyes ... I could be in a cozy villa or seaside resort. I’m not at one of those places. I’m in the middle of heartbreak.

Dental Team In Action

The Dental Team is a group of consumate pros!  On these Medical Teams they work hard for long hours often confined to very limited spaces.  While this may seem problematic, but the spirit of unity among the groups is palatable and the closer they get the better it is for doctor and patient alike!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Week In Guatemala: The Tough Cases

Dr. Jason (left), Dr. Mke (right)
The following are summaries to illustrate patient cases where additional care is recommended. Generally these recommendations come through extensive consultation, first by doctors, then by FTC Canada and FTC Guatemala staff.

The consultation by doctors usually indicates that a case is more serious and that further arrangements should be made for medical stays or prescribed interventions.

FTC Canada and FTC Guatemala make arrangements, first to ensure payment can be made for further treatments and then to work out transportation and other logistics.

These summaries are in no way meant to be proper medical assessments. They are a combination of this bloggers notes with some input from doctors and others present at the time.
There was a fairly young man needing a MRI because of unexplained numbness on the right side of his face. Dr Jason Lazarou (Neurology expert) ran a series of tests to try and isolate any neurological problems but could not make a diagnosis without the additional testing.

A woman came to the clinic with a complaint of a mass on her breast. Dr. Mike Gilmour attempted to drain fluids from the area but was unsuccessful. FTC Guatemala has arranged for her to go to hospital for further testing.

Earlier in the week a young man with blindness in one eye was presented to Dr. Jason. His vision in the one eye had been lost within the last month. He also presented with lower motor neuron seventh cranial nerve palsy (likely formed within past 3 days). A series of tests – very expensive tests – would normally be ordered for a patient presenting these symptoms. At the very least, a MRI, lumbar puncture, blood tests (for syphilis – amongst other things) and a chest x-ray. This, according to Dr. Jason is perhaps a minimum series of tests required.

Dr. Mike consults with Dr. Channy
A little girl came into the clinic with severe burns to her hands and arms, face and scalp. She had been left in her home alone several years before, when a house fire developed. The results of the fire were devastating. Her hands were essentially melted, muscles and bones both. Dr. Channy Muhn attended to her and really wants to ensure her long-term care. Initially this will involve sending special materials from Canada to Central America. These will be used immediately to insure some restoration to skin. This is a very complex case that appears not only FTC Canada and Guatemala are committed to, but Dr. Channy seems willing to pursue in order to restore some use to the young girls hands.

A middle-aged woman named Elena came to the clinic in the afternoon on Day 5. She presented with a large tumour in her breast. A suspected breast cancer requires biopsy. Dr. Sasha High thinks that it is most likely cancerous but the biopsy will confirm this assessment.
The team at FTC Guatemala takes these more severe cases into their care. They will ensure hospital visits are arranged and follow-up care provided. The resources of FTC Guatemala are non-existent and the care can only be funded through FTC Canada.
Dr. Tony Brown treats a Guatemalan family

Day Four: Dr. Brown Recap

Dr. Anthony Brown or Dr. Tony is the FTC Canada Medical Team Advisor and provides key leadership to the entire medical team.  This includes advance trips into each country we visit as well as working with FTC Canada President Ken Dick to select the team members.

This short video is a recap of the past few days and a quick starter for Day 4. 

Day Four: Team Impact In San Francisco Sales

As the FTC Canada Medical Team opens up for a new day, there is a transformation of sorts. Small school rooms become home for teams of doctors working right alongside each other. Pharmacy sets up a wall of blue boxes holding creams and pills. Dental has already been on site an hour before we have arrived. Their “home” today is a very small school room adjacent to a demolished school hall. The hall was destroyed by a hail of volcanic ash and rock.

San Francisco Sales is just under the rim of an active volcano. The last active eruption left a thick layer of black ash everywhere. Some buildings were pelted with hot rock that simply seared its way through metal roofs. As I noted, entire buildings were destroyed by more accurate missiles launched from above.

Perhaps it is odd, but FTC Canada shipped a large quantity of high-quality boots and shoes to Gu. The boots, in particular, are a true asset for the men and women that make their living in the fields or need to travel long distances across dusty roads – and when they aren’t dusty they are muddy.

Distribution is in a very small room today – virtually a hole in the wall. In this room Janice and her team organize a vast array of great products. There are shoes and sandals, pants and shorts, shirts and winter jackets. In addition to this there are toys and really cute knitted dolls that were made by a knitting club in Cambridge, ON. Then there is very healthy food products in particular a bag of soup mix from the Gleaners. This soup bag can make 30 bowls of delicious soup.

Like Pharmacy, Distribution experiences an out-pouring of gratefulness from the people here. They may already have a bag full of pharmaceuticals, now they are about to get an abundance of supplies. As one boy looked longingly at his new soccer ball, a few of us commented that it was a lot like Christmas.

There is little access to medical care in this community. Young and old are making their way through the clinic. Some are hoping for a caring doctor to help them feel better. They get that, as caring doctors are all we have and pharmacy has a tremendous supply of medicines.

They get unexpected care perhaps through a new set of reading glasses; they get a surprise with access to great products at distribution. Even more surprising are the transformations in dentistry.

Today I filmed a complete tooth reconstruction – actually two front teeth. The young girl had what amounted to a bullet-hole size section of missing tooth material! I watched as the area was prepped drilled back to the point that there was virtually nothing left (removing excess rot). Dr. Jack Cottrell then performed a root canal, created a base for the new teeth to be reconstructed. Think rebar and concrete as it appeared to be like that.

What happened next was nothing short of spectacular. This young girl’s smile was transformed from a rotting hole, to something she would be proud of; she would look in the mirror and see a very beautiful set of teeth that would complement her pretty face. She would be very proud; Dr Jack was already on to the next patient (long line-ups) perhaps getting prepared to transform yet another smile.

Dr. Rick Caldwell talks with assistant Iris Renderos

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Three: Meet The Mayor

Day Three: Palencia

Today we all met the Mayor. Mayor Beto is the the mayor of Palencia, and a key political figure among mayoral leadership in Guatemala.

FTC Canada President Ken Dick, met Mayor Beto several years ago. At the time, a relationship was forged as the mayor put up seed money for a new school and Ken agreed to support the project. The school was eventually constructed (in a remote area of the region) and Ken was joyfully welcomed back by all the young students in a beautiful ceremony featuring generous portions of red and white.

In the city centre of Palencia is a large school complex where we set up the clinic. With this type of easy access, it was no surprise to see a line-up. This line would persist throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Dr. Channy Muhn
While we are in the process of introductions, let me also introduce you to the two doctors I am following as part of the development of a mini documentary. Dr. Channy Muhn, is a veteran – as it turns out being a veteran only means you need to have been on more than one team. Dr. Muhn is a dermatologist; a skin specialist extraordinaire.

Dr. Muhn is a funny guy. His light-hearted approach to his work brings smiles to colleagues and puts his patients very much at ease. While each doctor on the team is charged with providing primary care Dr. Muhn is constantly consulted for his expertise in skin diseases. Dr. Muhn is also an excellent teacher. He expects his peers to listen and learn, and because he is so clear they can easily understand his explanations. The result is a growing team of skin specialists!

Dr. Sasha High is an FTC Canada Medical Team rookie. She is a third year resident at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and soon to be Chief Resident in her fourth year. When you first meet Dr. Sasha, you may feel an immediate sense of peace. She is clearly a rare spirit, and blessed with many gifts.

If I were a patient, with my head bowed low, carrying a burden of poor health and I looked up to see Dr. Sasha here’s what I think I would feel. I think I would feel like I was in the presence of an angel. I would feel immediately at peace. I would feel like this doctor was going to be genuinely interested in my concerns and not just my health concerns.

These two doctors are remarkable people. This whole team is remarkable and I can’t help but get a bit teary, even now, as I consider the good work they are so invested in here: heart, mind and soul.

FTC Canada

Day Three: On Palencia

From Ken Dick, President, FTC Canada

It’s our third clinic day and we are now in the town of Palencia. We are not surprised at the numbers of people that we see in line, but we were a bit worried. In El Patrocinio, our arrival was met by a mere dozen people. People did continue to arrive and within the hour the line had grown to 150 patients. And they kept coming. At the end of the day nearly 1000 patients had been treated, nearly 150 being dental patients.

I am reminded of the school FTC Canada built in the region of Palencia two years ago. Mayor Beto is very pleased that we have returned with our medical and dental professionals.

We were greeted warmly by the community here and went to work as soon as we could in the morning. There are several new people on the team but that has not been a problem in any way. In fact on this our third day working together, there is a strong spirit of camaraderie. We are working together with the common goal of providing the most excellent primary medical and dental care we can.

Our blog will report on today’s activities. As I write this, I know it will tell you about the hundreds of happy people in Palencia who visited our clinic, received treatment and left with food, clothing and medicines. We are so grateful for the opporunity to be here.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Video: The End Of Day Two (Fun On The Bus)

As we left El Patrocinio we were blessed with a down hill ride off the volcano and into the sunset.  As we made our way back into Guatemala - very quickly I might add - one of the buses got out of the cue!

Internet In Guatemala

We have had two days in a row with very limited internet access in the place we are staying. As a result, anyone relying on that for communications has had to wait for that "Wi-Fi window" to open. Cell phone users strictly dedicated to Wi-Fi have suffered the same fate.

Cell phone users in Canada likely know that they pay more for that luxury than anywhere else on the planet. In Guatemala, a cell phone and a phone plan are very inexpensive. It is not unusual to see people you don't normally expect to have a phone, carrying one here.

There are no land lines in the places we are going so having a cell phone is the one to "connect". Phone companies know this and almost give the phones away. It is actually possible to have a phone, with a SIM card but have no cell phone plan. With this you can take unlimited incoming calls. The phone companies know that eventually, someone has to pay to send a call.

I asked little children to identify my iPhone. None of them seemed to recognize it as an iPhone but they all could tell me it was a cell phone. All that to say, that the cell phone is ubiquitous and here is a late video submission from Day One in Las Trojes!

Day Two: El Patrocinio, Pacaya

Pharmacy is anything but the end of the line. In fact, it is the start of well being, continued peace of mind and a chance to heal. Chris knows this and is proud of the work the pharmacy team does.

Chris Ritskes
Chris Ritskes is the Chief Pharmacist for Lakeridge Health Port Perry. In Guatemala, Chris and his wife Krista are part of the team providing medicines and vitamins to the families in El Patrocinio. Chris is a veteran, having been a part of all the FTC Canada Medical Teams. I have fond memories of watching his tall frame manage the very first clinic we set up in Honduras.

The small truck that had been parked in the living room was moved out to accommodate the pharmacy.  We moved all the boxes in across two or three tables.   Then we moved Chris and the team in.  Every time he crossed from one side of the small room to the other, he had to be conscious of the rapidly sloping roof. Somehow he managed to keep his head bump free despite his 6’ 5” frame.

Michelle and Jack
Dr. Jack Cottrell and his wife, Michelle, have been part of the teams since OCT 08. The team to Nicaragua was the first to include dental. This was a major accomplishment since taking equipment into a mobile clinic can easily done; taking what amounts to an entire dental clinic is quite another thing.

Each day a truck load of equipment makes its way to the next location. Besides the obvious things, like dental tools, all the sterilizing equipment, chairs, lights, cleaning tools, drills, and the list goes on, need to be dropped at the next clinic.

Dr. Jack was reminding me today that one of the major things that can be done in this type of dentistry is to restore self-esteem. Men and women are very conscious of cavities that form in between the front teeth. If allowed to progress, it causes the teeth to go black and they can obviously decay to the point of falling out. That later option, while unpleasant, is a common result of never seeing a dentist.



Two women were in the clinic at the same time lying in chairs across the room from each other. One was 39 and the other was 47. Do some quick math and you find that is 86 years. That collectively, was the number of years they had gone without seeing a dentist ... ever! The younger was suffering advanced gum disease and her front teeth were quite black. The other women featured in the photos (before and after above) had significant blackening between her front teeth. Upon closer inspection the extent of darkness was progressing more profoundly behind her teeth (due to cavities).

Here’s the bottom-line. With a bit of care and extra time, Dr. Jack and the other dentists can essentially bring the decay to a halt. This means their teeth, will mostly likely last for the rest of their lives. White teeth, teeth that will never fall out, create dignity and a sense of confidence. It’s remarkable work the dental team is doing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Las Trojes: Day One For The Medical Team

Las Trojes is a community just outside the city of Amaltitlan.  It is a beautiful area up in the hill country and the location for Day One of the Medical Team Clinics.

The Dental Team was on site for an hour before the rest of the team. For the first time, our generator decided to be difficult, creating some logistical issues; however, despite the set back the dental team would go on to see 148 patients, a tremendous accomplishment! While extractions were common, restorations were the real joy for the  team. This is the opportunity to restore a tooth rather than simply pull it out

Distribution hit the ground running as the prep for each day had been done the night before.  Sorting of so many great things like underwear, boots and shoes and assorted clothing.  Soccer shirts donated by a Guelph, Ontario soccer association were a huge hit as were the soccer socks! 

As I spent most of my time with the doctors, following the activities of two in particular, I have to note one thing:  It is as if they had been working in this setting, doing this type of primary care for months as a team.  Once the patients began arriving there was only a brief respite for them and their translators to grab lunch.

The phrase, "love is a verb", is one we as a team have  embraced. It is not simply about processing as many people as possible with no thought to person or circumstance. It has been amazing to see the team listen and care for those who came asking for our help.  It's not about us, as we were reminded when we set off in the morning.  It's about the people of Guatemala.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life In Guatemala: Getting Adjusted

Today, the Medical Team - all the people from Canada - joined forces with the FTC Guatemala Team on a hill overlooking Antigua, Guatemala.  This was the point where we really came together to form one team.

Our first adjustment in Guatemala was to Guatemala City and the slightly chilly air.  I suppose that is not really a grand thing for the Canadians to deal with! 

The next adjustment was to the culture and settling in to a new schedule.  Today began with essential jobs performed by the smaller teams, doctors, dentist, pharmacy and distribution.

Vitamins and other pills needed to be sorted into smaller packages, an entire shipping container of clothing, shoes, and other supplies needed to be unboxed and made ready for each day in the field.

Doctors met to review plans and dentists made last minute adjustments to equipment to ensure everything was in working order.

With a great head start we adjourned for Antigua for a quick visit to the old capital city and then off to a coffee plantation for a final team get together.

The blog entries this week will feature the activities of the groups I've just mentioned and I'll tell you about some of the children and families we are helping with essential primary care. 

It can not be emphasized enough that this type of care, be it medical or dental, can not be afforded by the people we see. We also know that families will often go months, even years without ever seeing to the basic health concerns they experience.  This can lead to much bigger problems.

I will also be spending more focused time on 2 team members.  They will be the subjects of a mini-documentary so I will be interacting with them daily and bringing their story to life on the screen (not the "big" screen, but the screen nontheless).

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and thank you for your support; it is helping the people of Guatemala in very tangible ways.

The Journey Begins: Toronto to Guatemala

Hi, John Matthews here and your blogger for the week in Guatemala. I hope to post updates, photos and video of our time here. I shot the video below while I was in Toronto, but you at least should know that we are here safely in the heart of Guatemala City and doing well.

While Toronto is far behind - the weather may not be.  It was very cool here when we arrived meaning sweaters and jackets required!

Stay tuned for more.

John Matthews
FTC Canada

Medical Team Safely In Guatemala

The FTC Canada Medical Team is safely on the ground in Guatemala.  From Toronoto to Central America (El Salvador to Guatemala) was a tiring day and everyone was ready for a good nights rest. 

Various parts of the team are already hard at work.  Those teams include, medical, dental, pharmacy and distribution.  Stay tuned as the week has only just begun and there will be plenty more to follow.

John Matthews
FTC Canada

Thursday, October 21, 2010


After several months of planning, I am pleased to report the First Nation Bunk Bed Program is launching.  Here are some of the reasons why we have begun this good work.

Recent studies established that “living conditions for First Nations people rank 63rd in the world - comparable with developing countries - and are the root causes of poor health.”   The Canadian Department of Indian and Northern Affairs has reported that “overcrowding, mould, and unsafe drinking water help spread communicable diseases at a rate 10 to 12 times higher than the national average. Over 40% of homes are considered inadequate shelter.”  Living conditions in First Nations communities in Canada are comparable to many lesser-developed countries.

Since 2005, FTC Canada has been supporting First Nations children and families in Northern Ontario through the distribution of food and supplies and operating a summer day camp. It is a natural progression to consider other ways to help children in the North. 

Sometimes, as many as twenty individuals will live in one home together, which obviously does not provide adequate sleeping accommodation. Family members must take turns sleeping in the few beds they have. Unfortunately, many of those lacking a bed at night are children; who are often found wandering around the reserve in the middle of the night. 

It is an established fact that a lack of proper sleep for children is detrimental to their development and health. Changes in sleeping habits can impair a child’s learning, memory and ability to concentrate. To try to address the problem of a serious shortage of beds we developed the First Nation Bunk Bed Program. This will go a long way to providing proper sleeping accommodation for many children living on First Nations reserves in Northern Ontario.

We are preparing to deliver 100 beds to two Northern Ontario reserves by the end of January 2011.  Volunteers have already offered to go to the reserves to assist in assembling the beds.

The communities are excited about getting the beds. One mother stated how wonderful it would be to have all her children sleeping at the same time, in the same place, at the proper hour of the day.  One Chief related how these beds will go a long way to help change the social dynamics of the community.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how to provide a bed to First Nation children.

Ken Dick, C.A.

Monday, October 18, 2010


FTC Canada partnered with Marwan Hage of Hage's Heros to bring food to families in The City of Hamilton.

Click here to see the video on TICATS TV.


A boxful of bounty can help. For a lot of families money is short and shopping sprees of any kind are not possible including at the grocery store.

Check out the video on CHCH TV.  Click Here!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Saturday October 9, 2010

On Saturday October 9th, for third year in a row, FTC Canada, Marwan Hage and Hage’s Heroes, the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Caravan Logistics distributed Family Food Boxes to families in need in The City of Hamilton on the Thanksgiving weekend holiday.

Eight distribution partners joined forces to serve the families in need including , Eva Rothwell Centre, Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ & Girls’ Club, The Hamilton Dream Center, Hughson Street Baptist Church, King’s Way Blessing Centre, West Hamilton Wrap Around, and City Kidz.

Weighing approximately 30 pounds, the Family Food Box can provide a family of 4 with enough food for about three days.  In the 1000 boxes distributed or alongside, were quality products from our Corporate Partners: Nestle Waters, Oakrun Bakery, Advantage Packaging, and Zellers Fairview Mall (St. Catharines).  MacNabb Presbyterian Church also provided food for the boxes.

Each agency identified children and families in need and distributed a voucher to be exchanged for a Family Food Box.  It turned out to be a great day: cool autumn air, clear skies and warm sun. 

Over 30 volunteers from Oakville based Caravan Logistics provided support for the day. Caravan Logistics also donated a truck and driver to transport the food boxes from the FTC Canada warehouse in Guelph to Ivor Wynn Stadium in Hamilton.

Marwan Hage and several Tiger Cat players joined Caravan volunteers to hand out the family food boxes and the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Compass Group supplied BBQ hot dogs for 500 children at the event.

Last year FTC Canada shipped over $1,000,000 of food and other essentials into the city of Hamilton partnering with agencies working directly with families in need of food.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Flying into Guatemala City through rain filled clouds reminded me of my previous visit almost three years ago.  Exciting things have happened since then including the building of a new school, two wells have been drilled and our Medical-Dental Team provided care to thousands.  Well, here we go again!

On November 6th our next Medical-Dental Team will leave Toronto for Guatemala City, Guatemala. Getting the 27 member team there along with what seems like “tons” of baggage is always interesting, but between the time we arrive at Toronto International (really early in the morning) and our arrival at Guatemala City, the bonding process will have begun.  When we come to end of this mission, we shall all be good friends (we hope!).

At the end of September, Dr. Anthony Brown (FTC Medical Advisor) and I spent 3 days visiting communities outside Guatemala City. We met with local community leaders, all of us enduring what seemed like constant rainfall.  Our capable Director for Central America, Efrain de los Rios, drove us up to the side of a volcano to a community where there had been major damage caused by a violent eruption last May.  Black ash still covered the roads and much of the landscape.  Our plan is to take the team into several communities in that mountainous area.

Palencia is a region of more than 55,000 people.  This is familiar territory for Dr. Brown and me. Mayor Beto,  always an enthusiastic host was once again gracious in his welcome.  He smiled broadly when we told him we planned to bring the medical team back into Palencia in November.

It was a very productive few days, traveling the deeply rutted, muddy roads of rural Guatemala.  Our goodbyes to Efrain and the amazing Central America Feed The Children staff were hopeful; it wouldn't be long until we were back together again.

At the upcoming team orientation on October 23, 2010, photos will be presented, highlighting the five communities chosen for the Medical-Dental clinics.  It won’t be long now and we will be off to Guatemala.  I’m excited.  I hope you are too!

Ken Dick, C.A.

PS You can follow the team here at this blog site as there will be daily updates (internet permitting)

PSS You can support the Medical-Dental program by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


FTC Canada is currently in Guatemala, where plans are being made for the next Medical-Dental team.

The team will land in Guatemala in early November.  You can learn more about the work at our website (click here) or follow the team's daily activities at this blog.

FTC Canada Medical Team Advisor, Dr. Anthony Brown is scouting out locations for the next team.  Joining him in this process, is FTC Canada President Ken Dick.  Selecting a good location means first meeting the needs of the community where we will serve.  Meeting local officials and community leaders is an important part of planning.

Sites must support the "portable" team; allowing room for a pharmacy, food and supplies, and of course doctor and dental areas.  The later two require waiting space, room for practitioners, assistants and if required translators to see patients and private areas that allows for discreet interviews and minor surgeries.

There will be 5 locations chosen, all within reach of Guatemala City.  This is a region we have been in before, so there is a good chance we will be making a return visit to sites we have previously served.

Monday, September 20, 2010


We are looking forward to the Haiti Fundraiser coming up on September 24, 2010 in Burlington, ON.  Tickets are still available for this special evening gathering.

The evening program looks like it will provide a great deal of insight into Haiti:
Doors Open ~ 6:00 PM
Dinner ~ 7:00 PM
Speakers for the evening
~ Paramedic Grant Rumford - Mr Rumford, was stationed at Mission of Hope in Haiti when the earthquate struck.
~ Dr. Anthony Brown, FTC Canada Medical Advisor - Dr. Brown will talk about the FTC Canada Emergency Team that was sent to Haiti 8 days after the quake.
~ Otis Garrison, VP Mission of Hope Haiti - Mr. Garrixon will share his thoughts on the future of Haiti

SEPTEMBER 24, 2010, 7:00 PM
Please click Purchase Tickets to go to the ticket Ticket Page.

Friday, September 10, 2010


A bus bound for Haiti was loaded onto a flatbed transport in the work yard of local trucking company MacKinnon Transport Inc.  From Guelph the load will head south to sunny Florida to board a boat for the journey to Port au Prince.

Times for all these events to occur become harder to predict the closer the bus gets to Haiti.  Transport schedules are fairly predictable from Canada to the boat, but once in the port in Florida other factors come into play.  Certainly getting a boat into the earthquake damaged port of Port au Prince comes with its own set of challenges.

Once on terra firma, the bus will journey about 45 minutes to the Mission of Hope (MOH) compound.  MOH is a partner NGO of FTC Canada and home to a school, feeding centre, hospital and emergency clinic.  FTC Canada sent an ambulance to MOH just prior to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010.

Thank you to MacKinnon Transport and to the generous people helping to financially support the transport of this bus to Haiti.  Donations are still required to transport containers of supplies to Haiti and to rebuild homes.  Please give generously to FTC Canada as our work there continues.  If you or your business would like to raise money for programs or projects in Haiti, please call 1.877.382.2262.

Friday, September 3, 2010


On September 24, 2010, Paramedic Grant Rumford will take us on a journey to the very heart of Haiti.

FTC Canada sent Grant Rumford to Haiti to work with partner NGO, Mission of Hope. In May 2009 Grant decided to take a leave from the Halton Paramedic Service. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for his whole family and a chance for Grant to provide leadership for the emergency services at the Hospital of Hope.

At the FTC Canada Haiti Fundraiser you will hear all about Haiti One, the ambulance that would eventually make it's way to Haiti and play a key role in a time of crisis. You will learn about how the earthquake on January 12, 2010 changed so many lives and thrust Grant headlong into the epicenter of the disaster.

FTC Canada sent an emergency medical team to Haiti just 8 days after the quake struck Port au Prince. This was an unexpected surprise for Grant and a huge boost of confidence as he had his "crew" from Halton working alongside him in the battle to save lives!

You will not want to miss this event:
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010, 7:00 PM
Tickets: $50 per ticket, $400 per table of 8
Please click HERE to go to the Haiti Fundraiser page to purchase tickets.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Like no other time in history there is a loss of hope in Haiti. FTC Canada is there to help restore and rebuild that hope for without it there is no future.

Please join us on September 24, 2010 for an event that will serve to remind you that supporting and caring for your brothers and sisters in Haiti has really just begun.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010, 7:00 PM
Tickets: $50 per ticket, $400 per table of 8

Please click HERE to go to the Haiti Fundraiser page to purchase tickets.


Please give to FTC Canada to help families in Pakistan cope with the flood.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I can always be sure when returning from a Medical-Dental Team excursion, that I will be asked several times, “When is the next trip and where is it going?”. Because of the preparation time required, we are careful to leave sufficient time between travels to Central America. My answer in February, as we returned from El Salvador was, “Sometime later in the year”!

Dr. Tony Brown (Medical Advisor) and I had to make two major decisions. One, where do we go next, and two, when do we go? It did not take long to decide we should return to Guatemala. Why Guatemala?

The medical/dental needs in Central America are everywhere and unlimited opportunities to share our expertise are welcomed in several countries. Since 2007 we have taken teams to Honduras, Guatemala (2008), Nicaragua and El Salvador. In making the decision to return to Guatemala we talked to the people who partner with us in that country, reviewed recent events that have impacted the people there, including floods and earthquakes and looked carefully at the current political situation and safety factors. There was nothing to keep us from going to Guatemala and plans are under way for a team to be there November 6-14, 2010.

We are often asked if we have problems finding people for the team? No is the short answer. Since our first team to Honduras in 2007, our roster of medical professionals and other support staff has been growing. Our largest team, 30 strong, went to El Salvador in February 2010. This we have discovered, is a level at which we can operate efficiently.

Dr. Tony and I will be visiting Guatemala at the end of September to visit communities where the teams may visit and scout out suitable locations to run our clinics.

If you are a medical professional and would like to get involved please contact me at ken@ftccanada.ca. By the way, there's a good chance we may be in El Salvador, April, 2011.

Ken Dick, President

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Up to 50 children a day arrive at the Mish Adventures home base by bus each day! And they arrive to a host of great activities; from swimming to volleyball and of course, eating food!

The weather in the North has been ideal; never too hot and never too cold!

A youth camp has been added to provide the older youth with activities that don’t include running over or into the smaller children! About 10 to 15 youth have participated and we have enjoyed afternoon canoe trips to explore the islands and games like Capture The Flag!

Swimming lessons are offered and of course we have the lifeguards to run “free swims”. This ensures not only essential skill development but a safe and fun waterfront for the children.

Because swimming is our #1 fun activity we hosted a Beach Day at the community beach half way between our home base and the main reserve. Most of the day was spent in the water of course! We added some volleyball and naturally some food! Lots of hot dogs roasted on an open fire! Of course everyone wants to have another Beach Day!

The staff get their recreation in the evening and the soccer and baseball games inevitably draw in members of the community who want to “hang out” and enjoy some fun with us.

The staff work hard and they share their care and concern for the children freely. Children here notice unconditional love maybe more so than children in other parts of Ontario and it impacts attitudes and is demonstrated in improved behaviour.

This is our last week here and already we are starting to regret the time when we have to pack up and head back to Southern Ontario.

FTC Canada would still welcome your gifts to help support this program. Please click here to go to the First Nations page.

Monday, July 26, 2010


In February 2010 the largest Medical-Dental team yet (30) was assembled by FTC Canada for the journey to San Salvador, El Salvador, CA. This would mark the second such trip to El Salvador.

The team spent 5 days working in partnership with other medical professionals and support staff from Feed The Children Central America operating medical clinics and food distributions in the poorest of neighbourhoods around the busy city.

The video features music by singer-songwriter Ali Matthews (www.alimatthews.com).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


In January 2010 we announced a partnership with KOM Networks (Ottawa, ON). The following video shows a shipment of recycled products being loaded at RDM Corporation in Kitchener, destined for a recycling plant in Brampton, ON.

KOM has chosen FTC Canada as its charity of choice directing funds derived from the recycling process to feeding hungry children in Canada and around the world.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Thunder Bay families that were in need of food support, received it on July 8, 2010 in the form of a Family Food Box from FTC Canada.

Details of the distribution were picked up by the local press who shone a spotlight on the good work of An Eagle's Cry Centre operated by Sky and Angie Hedricks. The Centre coordinated the event including distribution of coupons to families most desperately in need.

Please click on the following links to learn more about the local coverage:

Click here to read a report in the tbnewswatch.com

Click here to see Thunder Bay News coverage (video opens automatically)

Friday, July 9, 2010


An eager and terrific team of volunteers, some from An Eagle's Cry Centre (our host) and some from the FTC Canada Mish Adventure Camp Staff had the entire food box distribution ready to go a day before the actual event!

This included 350 family food boxes (approx. 22lbs each) and 350 hygiene boxes (personal essentials), food and cold drinks provided by the Centre, and games and crafts for the children. There turned out to be an added couple of bonuses for families picking up their boxes. Some families attending had no idea the Centre was open for them throughout the year. Families with small children were also able to help themselves to plenty of children's clothing.

Sky and Angie Hedricks, founders of the Centre were on hand to manage the intake process and to speak with families about the centre and its various programs. Each family had received a voucher which they exchanged for the boxes.

Families were genuinely appreciative of the support and excited to get this type of assistance when sometimes they were running short on food and supplies. Thunder Bay has an improving employment situation but many people are still living in low-income situations.

Our hope is that families in Thunder Bay will remember the generosity of An Eagles Cry Centre and turn to it whenever they find they are in need.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Thursday July 8, 2010

Eagles Cry Life Centre in Thunder Bay is distributing 350 food boxes and 350 hygiene boxes to needy families in partnership with FTC Canada.

The distribution will take place at An Eagles Cry Life Centre on 100 Simpson Street in Thunder Bay, ON today (centre founder Sky Hedricks in photo). Volunteers and staff from Eagles Cry will hand out the food boxes (approx. 22 pounds) along with boxes of personal hygiene products.

FTC Canada partners with organizations and companies throughout Canada to provide food and supplies to those in need. Recipients are identified by local social service organizations and receive a food voucher which they redeem at the event. FTC Canada First Nations Camp team will run a children’s program during the event. FTC Canada runs summer camps in Mishkeegogamang and King Fisher Reserves.

Friday, July 2, 2010



There are a high percentage of First Nations children and youth in most of the communities in Northern Ontario. In Mishkeegogamang we have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with several of them over the over the course of three years.

Lauren has been attending Mish Adventures every year since it started in 2007. He is one of the children committed to coming as often as he could. There was always a smile on his face and a desire to help out where he could. “I’m going to make different choices than the some of the youth I know” was one of the first things he said to us. Every summer, Lauren returns to camp and seems to be on a path to making some good choices.

When asked why FTC Canada to such invests in a children’s program in a community that is so far away, the answer that has most been appropriate is, “If the relationships we build with the people in the community changes the direction of even one person’s life, it is a good thing.” If that person chooses hope instead of despair, it was worth it.

Lauren has agreed to be a Junior Leader at Mish Adventures this summer. Helping him find the skills and talents he was born with and developing his leadership potential is an exciting adventure. Our goals at camp are:

  • To meet the needs of the children;
  • Give children a place to forget their sadness;
  • Develop long-term relationships.

We hope to inspire young people to become leaders, in the camp program and in their community. We are excited about our forth summer in Mish. Goals are being met and the journey many of these children are on may, change transform and entire community’s outlook on the future.

Learn more about supporting a child at Mish Adventures: Click Here!

Monday, June 21, 2010


FTC Canada greatly values the partnership formed with Hanlon Business Park neighbour Unisync Group and their efforts to support needing families overseas particularly in earthquake ravaged Haiti.

Since 2008 Unisync Group has donated over $1 million worth of clothing to FTC Canada for needy children and their families in hurting countries around the globe. Unisync provided $94,000 in clothing for shipment to Port-au-Prince, Haiti where many families lost everything in the massive 7.0 earthquake in January.

FTC Canada has sent 15 containers of food and supplies to partners on the ground in Haiti. Unisync’s desire to reach out in such a global manner demonstrates a willingness to add value to the ongoing international efforts of the charitable work of FTC Canada.

Unisync is a full service, vertically integrated provider of corporate apparel and promotional products. One of Unisync’s core values is contributing to the communities they work in. With a distribution centre located in Guelph, ON Unisync is actively supporting initiatives in the city while collaborating with significant global initiatives.

“Unisync is extremely honored to be partnered with FTC Canada in support of many of the important initiatives their organization heads up”, says Carmin Garofalo, president of Unisync Group. “Along with providing relief and aid on a global level, it was important to us to join with an organization, that supports our communities on local levels as well.”

Monday, June 7, 2010


June 9, 2010

Guelph, Ontario – “The school is no longer under threat of closure….” Those were the words shared by the Head Master of Equator Primary School last week during the commissioning of a brand new set of latrine/toilets just outside Nairobi, Kenya.

In October 2009 it was brought to FTC Canada’s attention that the Nairobi School Board was prepared to shut down Equator Primary School due to the unsafe conditions of the school’s bathrooms unless new ones were built. FTC Canada then called its latrine building partner Connecting Countries and asked if they could take on funding this additional project and they did. Building began in January 2010 and last week the latrines were completed. Three-hundred students now have clean, safe latrines and most importantly will not be forced out of their school.

FTC Canada would like to thank their partner Connecting Countries for their ongoing commitment towards helping provide African students with outstanding learning conditions.

To learn more please visit www.connectingcountries.net

Friday, June 4, 2010


Nick Kellock, COO, Concord Hospitality Enterprises on Share Day 2010 with FTC Canada and Concord Share Day activity across North America.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Lisa Tracz is the General Manager of Residence Inn Missisauga Airport Corporate Centre West (a Concord company hotel) and a key organizer of Concord Hospitality Share Day 2010.

We asked her to talk about Share Day 2010, the partnership with FTC Canada and why a family food box distribution matters.


May 25, 2010

Toronto, ON – Thanks to the hard work and generosity of 10 Toronto area hotels, 400 local area families received much needed food and supplies this past week.

Over 25 hotel staff were on hand at Rexdale Alliance Church on May 20th in Etobicoke, ON to volunteer their time to distribute the food boxes packed by FTC Canada. This was all part of Share Day 2010, which is organized by the hotels parent company Concord Hospitality Enterprises. Toronto was one of 7 North American cities that participated in the company’s 2nd Annual Share Day which saw 3,500 families receive food and supplies across Canada and the U.S.

The GTA hotels that participated in this year’s event were the Crowne Plaza Hamilton, Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, Courtyard by Marriott Markham, Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga Airport/Corporate Centre West, Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga/Meadowvale, Courtyard by Marriott Vaughan, Residence Inn Markham, Residence Inn Mississauga Airport/Corporate Centre West, Residence Inn Mississauga/Meadowvale, and Residence Inn Vaughan.

To learn more about Concord Hospitality Enterprises and the over 70 hotels they manage please visit www.concordhotels.com