Now an interesting story yet to be told begins with a woman named Gladys Morris. Gladys is 90 years old and full of fervor and zeal. It was a pleasure speaking with Gladys the other day as she indulged me with fascinating stories, particularly about the Tobermory Thrift shop - the reason I called.
Before I enlighten you with the details, let me tell you about Gladys. Gladys was born, raised and has to this day lived her entire life in Tobermory Ontario. Full of pride she affirms “I’m the granddaughter of the first white man that came to live in Tobermory.” Born into a family of pioneers, Gladys continues to lead the way. She married a Toronto man, boasts 4 children, is an associated RENS World War 2 Veteran, has been a community worker all her life, counsel member and welfare officer to name a few awe inspiring achievements that only skims her dossier. Especially for a woman of her era, critiquing her efforts and the contribution she’s made under scores the relevance of her determination and fortitude.
Gladys was an avid reader before she went blind. Her thirst for knowledge led her through numerous thrift shops rummaging around for the next book to peruse. Unbenounced to her, the Tobermory Thrift shop was already spiritually afoot. The United Settlement Church had been vacant for two years and Gladys thought how brilliant it would be to turn it into a Thrift Shop. “You’ll give everything away” laughed the Board of Stewards when Gladys presented her idea, but she persisted and along with Marion Dean prepared all the amazing donations for their grand opening. To their astonishment the Thrift Shop took in $300.00 the first day! Both Gladys and Marion camaraderie continued for many years each volunteering their time on respective days per week. Her giggle made me smile as she recalled how she and Marion, with every ounce of strength pulled a gargantuan bed with drawers into the store only to sell it hours later. “We had a lot of fun!” her voice smiled. Today the monies acquired through the Thrift Shop are disseminated for The United Church’s general expenses together with a benevolent fund. The salvation of everyone’s efforts is that the Thrift shops donates to those individuals in need and have many dedicated volunteers actively working to move these donations forward. “No one in need will ever be turned away” affirms Gladys, “even if someone couldn't afford to buy something, they would be encouraged to accept it as a gift.”
Now although legally blind Gladys continues to do all her own cooking and lives independently. For her 90th birthday she told family and friends that she didn’t want any gifts but asked if they would bring her a donation for the food bank - this would be the birthday present that would keep on giving. Well folks, you guessed it; Gladys's selfless request stocked an entire food bank!
Congratulations Gladys, your idea of some 20 years ago has blossomed in so many ways. Your compassionate effort carries on.
Gladys Morris is an extraordinary woman who still makes a difference!