Thirsty Church makes it to finals

Sherry Martell
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LONDONERRY STATION - The Londonderry Station Community Church has made it to the final round of a contest hosted by Aviva to support community-based projects.
Wednesday night volunteers who initiated the Thirsty Church entry in the Aviva Community Fund Internet competition watched the last votes slowly roll in until one o'clock in the morning when they landed in the top 25 across the nation.
"I think I was in a state of shock," said Amanda Langille, spokeswoman for the Thirsty Church campaign. "I was numb, nervous, anxious. Then it was excitement, relief and gratitude."
The top 25 most popular semi-finalist ideas will now move on to a judging phase where a panel of impartial judges will review all of the finalist ideas to assess their feasibility and costs and rank them to determine which ideas will get funded.
The church is called thirsty because it has no plumbing, no washrooms and no running water, some issues that the group is aiming to address if they win the contest, along with adding a wheelchair ramp and finishing the basement.
"We may get what we asked for, we may get a little of it or we may get nothing," said Langille.
The Aviva Community Fund will fund at least one small-sized idea (less than $10,000), one medium-sized idea ($10,000 - $50,000), and one big idea ($50,000 - $250,000). After those ideas have been funded, they will fund additional ideas until the money is gone.
The winning entries will be announced on Jan. 25, 2010.
Langille said entering the contest shone a light on the community that was once bustling with activity and feels it will gain the area long-term benefits.
"It has been an incredible journey," she said. "This project has really reconnected our community and lifted our community spirit. People are planning trips to see this little church that has captured the hearts of many. Because of those things we have already won."
During the voting more than 1,200 comments were received on the contest website showing a great support for the Thirsty Church.

smartell@transcontinental.ca

Organizations: Thirsty Church, Aviva Community Fund, Londonderry Station Community Church

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