COVID-19 has affected the world in an unprecedented way. The lives of millions of Canadians have effectively been put on pause until the end of the crisis, jobs have been lost, wages reduced, opportunities lessened, and yet we continue to persevere. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has brought out the best in us, with thousands coming together to raise funds and gather supplies for hospitals, food banks, and shelters in need.
The response here in Muskoka, particularly, has been nothing short of inspiring – from offering special services to those in isolation to making generous donations to local healthcare facilities, the people of Muskoka have come together as a community to take care of those in need, rising to the occasion in every way possible. During this time of uncertainty, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a few of the remarkable things made possible by the great people of Muskoka, and what you can do to make a difference.
Home deliveries in Huntsville and Gravenhurst
Those who are in self-isolation can take advantage of services offered by the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group and the Faith Baptist Church in Huntsville, both of which are offering local delivery services to help deliver essential supplies to those in need. These delivery services are available to those who are at-risk and unable to run errands or pick up groceries and medication.
Those who are interested or know of somebody who requires delivery services in Huntsville can fill out the application on the Faith Baptist Church’s website, and those in need in Gravenhurst can place an order by calling 705-710-4542.
These services are currently only available in Huntsville and Gravenhurst, though more volunteers could make expansion possible. Those interested in volunteering in Huntsville can fill out the Faith Baptist Church’s volunteer form, or inquire about assisting the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lunch for all thanks to Gravenhurst Against Poverty
Those in need continue to have reliable access to meals thanks to the fine people at Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), who continue to offer regular take-out lunches with the help of volunteers and donations from local businesses. During the crisis, only bagged take-out options will be offered to patrons, featuring items like soup, sandwiches, and fruit. GAP runs their lunch program every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 PM, and a supper and fresh food giveaway on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. GAP continues to run thanks to the generosity of volunteers and donors. To make a donation or volunteer your time with GAP, visit their website.
Generous donations made to local hospitals
As COVID-19 slowly spreads throughout the country, our nation’s hospitals are at risk of becoming strained and overburdened. Generation monetary and equipment donations help to lessen this burden on our healthcare system, allowing hospitals to be better prepared for a possible outbreak. On Saturday, March 28th, Mayor Graydon Smith of Bracebridge announced that a generous $135,000 was being donated to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation, which will be used for new beds in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
The donors wished to remain unnamed, stating that they made the donation to support the community they love during its time of need. Many other locals have contributed what they can towards local hospitals, offering monetary donations as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), which can be used to ensure that healthcare providers are adequately protected from the coronavirus.
How you can make a difference in your community
The best and most important thing you can do during these unprecedented times is to stay home and limit unnecessary contact. This helps to keep you and those around you protected, and reduces the risk of community spread.
Those who are healthy and able can go the extra mile by volunteering their time with local food banks and home delivery services, which help to provide essential services to those in need. Some of the organizations that currently need your support include:
Manna Food Bank in Bracebridge
The Salvation Army in Bracebridge
Faith Baptist Church in Huntsville
The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation in Huntsville
The Salvation Army in Huntsville
Gravenhurst Against Poverty in Gravenhurst
West Muskoka Food Bank in Port Carling
MacTier Food Bank in MacTier
These critical organizations rely on volunteers and donations in order to continue serving local communities. You can also make a difference through monetary and PPE donations to Muskoka’s hospitals:
- South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge
- Huntsville District Memorial Hospital in Huntsville
- Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia
In addition, the Muskoka Builders’ Association has launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a $100,000 COVID-19 fundraising campaign. The MBA has pledged $10,000 on behalf of its members, with all funds remaining in the community to benefit our local food banks, shelters, and hospital foundations. If you wish to make a donation to the ongoing COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit the official GoFundMe page for more information.
The outpouring of support seen over the last month should make Canadians everywhere proud. The continued efforts of communities around the country is truly inspiring. Whether you’re doing your part by self-isolating, volunteering with local food banks and services, or making donations to organizations in need, every little bit helps. When we work together as a community, we ensure that people of all walks have the chance to stay safe and healthy in these uncertain times. We’ll get through this crisis together and come out stronger than ever before.