At a time when rural communities across Ontario are fighting to keep their schools from closing, Chapman’s Ice Cream company stepped up to invest in their local community of Markdale to keep Beavercrest Elementary School open. The family-owned and operated company, and main employer of the small town, made news with their multi-million dollar donation offer to keep the local school open.
“We commend Chapman’s for their support of healthy and strong rural communities. Chapman’s reminds us we can’t have commerce and economic growth without proper social infrastructure,” says Keith Currie, OFA President. “Ontario’s rural communities need access to the same social and economic structure as our large cities, including local schools. Too many rural schools are facing closures or re-assessment. We hope Chapman’s example of a private sector commitment to their community reminds other school boards and decision makers that closing schools can have negative impacts on communities in so many ways.”
Chapman’s Vice-President Ashley Chapman was recently quoted in a CBC interview, saying the local community is essential to the company’s future, just as the local elementary school is essential to the community’s survival. Chapman also pointed out that keeping the school open helps maintain and attract employees.
Rural schools across the province are facing closure due to lower attendance numbers. Numbers aside, rural schools are necessary for keeping and attracting local employees and providing education for the next generation of rural Ontarians. Rural communities also rely on school buildings for social events, local sports activities, and service and community groups.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) commends Chapmans and the town of Markdale for their recognition of the importance of rural schools to the communities and the local businesses. This is an excellent example of how the community, the school and the local economy are all dependent on each other to thrive.
OFA strongly supports rural communities and OFA continues to work with the provincial government to secure the physical and social infrastructure needed to drive rural economic growth. This includes roads, bridges, access to natural gas and broadband internet, along with adequate healthcare and education opportunities.