As the COVID-19 pandemic continues – and the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders until May 12 – community groups continue to spring up to help people in need.

One of them is the Neighbours Helping Neighbours (NHN) support network. Bonnie and Greg Roe, who live on the Ritchie Falls Road, began the initiative about a month ago. They started by emailing, and dropping off flyers in people’s mailboxes, to connect.

“We just wanted to set up a support network to help each other should anyone need it or if stricter measures were to be put in place,” Bonnie Roe said.

She added they have since decided to expand to the broader community.

“We have more than 25 volunteers (and counting) currently ready to assist. Physical distancing and health protocols will be used at all times.”

Volunteers are picking up shopping or take-out food. They are also working with the food banks to pick up and deliver food boxes for those who cannot drive, or wish to minimize their exposure, in the community.

“Since grocery stores are receiving so many pickup orders, NHN can help by shopping and delivering on a short turn around. We encourage prepayment if possible and cash is accepted when necessary,” Roe said.

They said items can be left on people’s doorstep and payment for purchases arranged. She said other services include: offering a friendly phone call or email and assisting with any urgent chores or needs, all for free. She added that university-aged students are part of the volunteer force, and some people are willing to help with those outdoor chores. As well, they are collaborating with Tekrider to share volunteers for pick up and delivery of personal protective equipment to their respective drop-off locations.

For further information, or support, contact bonnieroe08@gmail.com or call 705-286-2414.

Another group that has emerged is the Haliburton Caremongers. The goal of this group is also to organize the Haliburton County community on the grassroots level to ensure vulnerable community members have access to food, healthcare, and other necessities.

It is also for the redistribution of resources in the case that stockpiling prevents people from accessing basics.

You can also post requests for aid, and or support, on their Facebook page (Caremongers Haliburton).

The recently-created haliburtoncares.ca website also offers information to the public who may need assistance.

“It is so very heart-warming to see, as a community, how everyone is coming together for the better good in this COVID19 crisis,” Roe said.

However, she added, “what concerns me are those people who do not have internet, are isolated and may not know about the support we can offer and all of the other amazing supports in the County.”

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