[ezcol_1half]By Jeanette Rive
Eleven times a year, snow, rain, hail, ice storms notwithstanding, the Glebe Report arrives with unfailing regularity on our doorstep or at businesses in the Glebe, the Sunnyside library, schools and other locations for convenient pick-up. For this we have to thank Zita Taylor and her team of area captains and about 180 deliverers who distribute 7,000 papers throughout the area.
Zita has been the Circulation Manager for the Glebe Report for 18 years. That adds up to some 1,386,000 papers that have passed through her hands. She has only missed two months of deliveries in all those years!
Zita will be retiring from the job soon to take up a full-time job and pursue further studies.
I recently sat down with Zita to find out more about her story and her history with the paper.
Where did your relationship with the Glebe and the Glebe Report start?
I initially came to Ottawa to work for one year and fell in love with the Glebe. I loved the spirit, culture, welcoming attitude and the people. It was also my introduction to volunteering because in Ireland, where I came from, the culture of volunteering was not so common. The Glebe Report was my window to what was going on in the community.
I was visiting a friend who was the previous Circulation Manager. I commented on what a fabulous part-time job it was and if she ever needed a replacement, to call me. So three or four years later she did and the rest is history. My children have grown up with these monthly bundles, which have also done double duty as building blocks for forts and castles. I became known as the Glebe Report lady.
What happens when these bundles of papers arrive at your house?
Winchester Print, which has been printing our paper for many years, delivers the papers. All the neighbours know when it’s delivery day when the huge cube truck arrives. The owner himself often comes and over the years I have learned a lot about what goes on in the town of Winchester! The papers are bound in bundles of 20 and three times a year there will be an insert from GNAG (Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group) with a schedule of their upcoming activities.
[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]The bundles get picked up within 48 hours by the eight area captains who in turn drop them off to the individual deliverers. I personally deliver them to the businesses on Bank Street and other locations. My deliverers are my heroes. They are vital to our community and so appreciated. I do want to add that for high school students, that half hour a month delivering the paper over four years gives them the volunteering credits they need for graduation. I have learned over the years that for some students, this has been a positive and precious alternative to other volunteering options.
I have been struck by your reference to how the paper has taught you the importance of volunteering and building relationships within the community. What stories have stuck in your mind and what have you learned from your years as Circulation Manager?
Most of all I have enjoyed getting to know the heart of the Glebe. The businesses have been so receptive. Even a new business, which might initially be hesitant to accept the paper on it’s premises as a pick-up point will call me after a few days asking for 20 more papers.
There have been lovely little gestures of appreciation such as being given a flower by Bloomfields in the dead of winter, the kind offer of a cold drink in summer or a hot coffee in winter from the person in the Glebe Annex. I was impressed by the dedication of the senior citizen in the high-rise building at the corner of Bronson and Holmwood, who, until she passed on, would take the papers in her shopping cart and deliver them to each door.
I have tried never to lose sight of what the paper is and what we stand for. I will miss the connection with the volunteers and especially the relationships that I have built with the businesses over the years.
What are you looking forward to?
Well, my family looks forward to not having bundles of newspapers in the house! It has been a family affair but they will be happy that their months won’t be guided by “Glebe Report days.” I am going to be working more full-time with Equal Voice, a national organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.
The community owes Zita Taylor a huge thankyou for her years of dedication to our neighbourhood newspaper. Her commitment to volunteerism is an example for us all to follow. She will be missed, but luckily we will still see the Glebe Report lady in our midst around the Glebe.
Jeanette Rive is a Glebe resident, long-time Glebe Report supporter and a former Glebe Report editor. [/ezcol_1half_end]