Sault community groups to remain open during shutdown
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Some grassroots organizations in Sault Ste. Marie are having to make some changes in how they deliver their services. This is due to the public health restrictions tied to the province-wide stay-at-home order.
Services offered by Save Our Young Adults From Prescription Drug Abuse - or SOYA - are still being offered, even though the group’s physical space is closed for the time being.
“SOYA is still here,” says founder Connie Raynor-Elliot.
“We’re still doing one-on-ones. Just send us a message. If somebody needs a ride to an appointment, we’re still doing everything else. And our meetings Tuesdays and Thursdays are still done via Zoom.”
The SOYA depot on Gore Street is set to reopen on Thursday, though the group will have to operate with limited capacity.
“We’re going to be limiting the people to only two at a time,” says Raynor-Elliot.
“And instead of having the food table, we’ll have food bags that we’ll be giving out. And when it comes to their essentials, that’s when they can come in two at a time. Of course, masks are provided.”
At Sault Ste. Marie Helping Hands - also on Gore Street - clothing and household items are still being accepted, and volunteers have been busy sanitizing the merchandise and displays.
“More cleaning, more sanitizing now versus pre-pandemic, pre-stay-at-home order,” says Amanda, a volunteer at Sault Helping Hands which recently obtained its registered charity status.
Wendy Gutcher, the group’s founder, says it has been struggling financially due to the repeated shutdowns.
“This is not the first time we’ve had to shutdown in a year since we’ve opened up Sault Ste. Marie Helping Hands,” says Gutcher.
“If anybody out there - I know people are struggling - and if you’d like to make a donation, we would gladly be able to accept it. You know, cash donation, we can give you a receipt so you can claim it on your income tax.”
Sault Ste. Marie Helping Hands is open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
They ask that donations only be dropped off during those hours and that those donating reach out Sault Helping Hands beforehand by calling 705-943-8363.