There is a very real possibility that if you lived in Virden or the surrounding area forty or fifty
years ago, you may remember someone frequently knocking on your door to ask for
donations to charities. This practice was happening far too often for those residents in town.
In 1984 Bill Ritchie met with Ewen McDonald to discuss finding a better way to obtain monies
for these charities that would not antagonize the residents. Soon afterwards, in December, a
meeting was held at the Fort la Bosse School Office when ten organizations attended. This
meeting resulted in the formation of the Virden Donor’s Choice. Ewen McDonald was elected
president, Les McNaughton was vice-president and Irene Nelson was secretary.
The guidelines of the Virden Donor’s Choice were similar to those of Maryfield, Sask. which
had the same kind of program. The guidelines are quite simple. The canvassed area is
divided into the same number of areas as the number of charities involved and each charity is
designated one of the areas to canvas.
The canvas takes place during the month of April. The main benefit to the residents is that no
one from any of these charities should call at their door again, until the next April.
The original Virden Donor’s Choice started with eight charities represented. Over the years
that number has increased to twenty.
A list of the present charities may be found elsewhere in this edition of the Virden Empire
The minutes of the Virden Donors Choice since 1984 provide evidence that many people
reading this article have served on its executive and there are dozens who have canvassed,
and continue to canvas, our community. There simply would not be a Virden Donor’s Choice
without these volunteers.
We have been privileged to hold Donors Choice meetings at Bridge Street Enterprises since
1991. Meetings are open to anyone.
The present executive of the Virden Donor’s Choice is President Karen McKinnon, Secretary
Laura Densmore and Treasurer Frank Van Den Hoek.
I believe readers would agree that, thanks to Mr. Ritchie and Mr. McDonald, there is a better
Submitted, Karen McKinnon