Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Your neighbours are hurting and you can help.

It may take a village to raise a child — but it takes a town to feed a community affected by COVID-19.

Every Thursday food packages are prepared and delivered by two dozen G.A.P. (Gravenhurst Against Poverty) volunteers to those in need.

Last week 265 meals were delivered to almost 100 home — along with fruit, bread, dessert — and a $25 grocery card.

That’s triple the number of recipients who normally come out to the weekly Supper Night at the United Church.

Due to the pandemic, sitting down to break bread together — and socialize — is no longer a option. So, rather than cancel the popular, long-standing program, G.A.P. organizers offered home delivery.

Sara Underwood, at Gravenhurst Caretagion (another corona virus spin-off support group) assembled 14 drivers to deliver them.

The Gravenhurst Rotary Club donated $20,000 for grocery cards to help kick-start the new grocery giveaway initiative.

Sobeys Gravenhurst gives them bread and desserts and had donated extra grocery cards.
And Field of Greens in Port Carling is donating bread.
Previously, volunteers cooked and served the meals in the basement of the United Church each Thursday, an Out of the Cold continuation.

In March, with social distancing rules food-serving restrictions, organizers tried to find a third-party providers for the large orders.

They contacted Meals on Wheels and their Red Cross partner who provided them for $6 per meal.

Now, the Red Cross is stepping up to pay for the meals.

But not the gift cards.

To keep it going, Rotary launched its CARE FOR A NEIGHBOUR program, which provides an easy way for you to sponsor a fellow community resident by funding a gift card.

“Many of our residents work seasonally, but most of that work will be non-existent this summer,” they said in a recent release.

“Others had trouble before this pandemic and are now facing greater challenges. Those especially vulnerable include small business owners and the self-employed, the unemployed, those with mental and physical disabilities and families with children.”

The cards are purchased by Rotary from Gravenhurst grocers.

You can help by simply sponsoring one card for one week or, if you can do more, purchase a grocery card for a month or two.

Each $25 increment buys a card and you can request a custom-written message on the envelope for the family. Messages should be brief, but can include things like your name or a positive message.

If you want to remain anonymous, your message could just read: “Donated by a fellow Gravenhurst resident” or something like that.

The idea behind the message is that it personalizes the gift and may provide inspiration in addition to the groceries that the card will buy.

Be sure to specify the message if you want one.

You can donate in $25 increments to the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst — or make a large donation to cover many cards.

Here how you can donate:

Donate by Etransfer to:

The answer to security question: rotary

Or you can send your cheque in the mail to Rotary Club of Gravenhurst P.O. Box 888, Gravenhurst ON P1P1V2

Donations of $50 or more will have a tax receipt issued if it is requested and your email is provided. To receive a charitable receipt, please provide your full name, email, address, and phone number.

People can be put on the list by calling 705-641-2225 or by emailing

Contact them by Wednesday the week you want to be added.

Rotarians Rob and Allyn Abbott, centre, and Bonnie Dart organize the boxes for the weekly food program. (GAP Facebook photos)
Fourteen masked drivers were waiting last week to make the deliveries to almost 100 homes.
Each food box has meals, bread, fruit and the $25 gift card.
It’s a non-stop job bringing boxes up from the basement to the waiting drivers.



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