NORTH BAY -- To the tune of Amazing Grace, the butterflies were released symbolizing freedom for loved ones who have passed on.

The Near North Palliative Care Network has been providing free compassionate end-of-life care service in Nipissing and Parry Sound for 33 years.

The mission of the network is to go to the patient, whether that's in their home, a hospice or the hospital.

"We want to be present in the lives of our clients and our community," said executive director Monica Monni.

"The mission of our visiting hospice is to be with you at your home."

All but two of the nearly 120 members are volunteers.

The money raised from the butterfly release fundraiser will go towards training new palliative care and bereavement volunteers who will serve patients and their families everywhere in the region.

So far, over $10,000 has been donated but officials expect more donations to flow in over the next little while.

"This is something that touches everybody regardless if the patient is there for cancer, heart and stroke or old age," said board chair Darren Renaud.

"No one deserves to die alone and our volunteers work tirelessly."

Palliative care has had to adapt to more virtual conference calls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, it can be challenging, the network is finding many seniors struggling to adapt to the technology.

"There might be a need for an increase and demand in service as well because people are becoming infected and unfortunately succumbing to the infection, there's going to be a lot of need," said volunteer care co-ordinator Alison Wilkes.

Monni says volunteers are always needed and hopes the community will remember the work they do.

"We are also seeing more people facing isolation, anxiety, depression due to the fact that they can't be with their loved ones," said Monni.

Like a butterfly ready to spread its wings and fly, the team looks to lift the spirits of those who need a smile before they pass on.