Service clubs continue work through pandemic

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Local service clubs are doing what they can to stay afloat and continue to support the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise, the Simcoe and Port Dover Lions Clubs, and the Who Did It Club have all had to cancel their vital fundraising events since March of this year.

“On the personal side it’s been a struggle, we’ve been lucky that we’ve got Catch the Ace that’s been able to keep us going,” Gail Catherwood, a member of Rotary Sunrise said.

Sunrise members have been meeting online since the beginning of the pandemic.

The club has been keeping busy helping with Church Out Serving’s Riversyde 83 and the Special Olympics swim team covering additional fees. Their Facebook page keeps supporters and members up to date with the projects being completed.

“Some people don’t realize what a small amount of money can do for someone that doesn’t have anything, or an organization that $2,000 would just put them over the top,” said Catherwood. “To them it’s very worth it, and when we can’t deliver that it’s heartbreaking.

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NorfolkSunrise.org has a donation button for anyone interested.

Gene Walleyn, a secretary with the Simcoe Lions, said the Thanksgiving weekend food truck in Wellington Park was a big help.

“We got a fantastic response from the local people here in Simcoe, and actually far beyond what we anticipated,” he said. “Just tremendous support, it was very, very much appreciated.”

Some of the fundraising events lost by the Simcoe Lions this year include the variety show, and all of the summer and fair events at which the food truck would be located.

The club has been able to hold a few small in-person meetings and the rest have been online.

The Simcoe Lions have also partnered with Kernal Peanuts for the holiday season. Gift baskets of local products can be purchased on SimcoeLions.com, ranging from $24 to $48 in price. All of the funds raised will stay in Norfolk County.

The last event the Port Dover Lions held was on New Year’s Eve.

“There is no fundraising whatsoever,” said Alan Strang, marketing and communications for the club.

The group has still been active in the community without fundraising efforts. The Silver Lake Market has continued every Saturday morning, they are still entertaining applications for funding, and are looking at rebuilding the gateway signage for service clubs at the entrance of town.

“The Dover community supports the Lions tremendously as it is, they know how to find us it seems,” said Strang.

The two summer barbecues at the Who Did It Club that were cancelled are that group’s main fundraisers each year.

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“It’s obviously very tough with COVID,” said Bill Renton, president of the club. “We had our annual Pot of Gold, which was sold out. We appreciate the community support on that.”

Members of the club are continuing to loan out hospital and mobility equipment to those in need in the community.

The club was able to hold one outdoor meeting when the COVID numbers were low, but have since moved to holding meetings with only the five executive members attending. Minutes from the meetings are forwarded to the rest of the members.

The Who Did It Club is accepting financial donations or contributed equipment.

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