Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — There was a breakfast of champions today.

And the Raptors weren’t invited.

Which saddened Shrey and Om Patel — huge fans of Toronto’s NBA team that lost out in the first round of the NBA playoffs last night to the Philly 76ers.

But the gaping holes in their hearts were filled by friends from GAP, who gathered for some light fare at the Oar Restaurant as part of a thank you to volunteers.

Who ever coined the phrase about many hands making light work either a) helps out at Gravenhurst Against Poverty; or b) has never driven by Trinity United Church on a Thursday.

On the one hand there are more than 200 people who pitch in one way or the other to help each week feed more than 600 with home deliveries and aid in a couple of their other related projects around town.

On the other hand it’s a huge task that takes a ton of work that just keeps growing.

The logistics alone of preparing, packing, boxing and shipping out the more than 200 food hampers is a logical miracle performed by tireless friends and neighbours in town like Shrey and Om.

This morning organizers Bonnie Dart and Linda Harrison, Patti Ferrari and Brenda Gabitous — among others — welcomed the Patels and other at a social gathering as a small token of their appreciation for the hundreds of hours they put in to help feed their community.

Patti Ferrari and Linda Harrison welcomed Gord Durnan for his first public outing at the Oar Restaurant.

Oar owner Robbie Irvine and her staff put out a spread of quiche tarts, muffins, croissants, coffee, tea and juice to nosh on as dozens of people young and old — and in familiar lime green t-shirts and hats — mingled and shared a couple of hours of fraternity.

Gord Durnan made his first brief “half hour” foray out in to public after a bout of ticker trouble this winter.

But he, too, was glad to be there to share in the community celebration before going out to “hit a few balls” as he looks forward to getting back on to the golf course at Kirrie Glen.

Others like Wendy Pries and Beth Houston joined in after the recent loss of their father Rev. John Houston who led the Trinity parish in the 1970s and ’80s.

Gabitous said getting up and getting out early on a Friday for a bite was no problem.

“I get up early all the time.”

The GAP team is used to being up at ’em filling orders all day Thursdays and beyond to make the hugely successful endeavour work.

Every week it seems someone new comes on board — like Shoppers Drug March, which called and said they had extra food they’d like to donate.

It’s part of the ongoing “food rescue” GAP volunteers regularly do picking up donated food ends, baked goods, produce and groceries from local grocers and restaurants — to augment prepared meals they get from the Red Cross.

They also continue their free Tuesday pick-up food program at the church.

Councillor Penny Varney, a volunteer, dropped by and was excited about the sale today of the Albion Hotel building, where she’s part of the Arts and the Albion co-op.

Wendy Pries and Beth Houston sport the latest fashion trends in Gravenhurst.

Harrison, who still has a few thousand pounds of potatoes in her basement from a Rotary east coast purchase and donation, said all is well with GAP.

Though she is sorry that the group missed out on purchasing Ing Building downtown as a new headquarters, she hopes maybe the new owners might rent to them.

She said while they had more than half a million in pledges to buy the building next to the Opera House, amazingly some of those generous donors who pledged in that drive told them to keep the money and to continue their with their good causes.

Maybe they can save it for joint celebration with the Leafs of Jays.

Shrey and Om would love that.

Gerry Lawrence, left, and Bruce Dart mourn the mutual loss of the Raptors with Shrey and Om Patel.
Amanda Smart, daughter Lillian and Jodi Gower were among dozens of volunteers who were appreciated this morning by GAP.
GAP chair Bonnie Dart chats with a valuable volunteer over quiche and muffins.
Bryan White, left, listens in as volunteers, including Penny Varney and Dianne Harrop, socialize and chat.



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