SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie is going virtual this year with its "Catch the Ace" draw.

The club, which has been operating in the Sault for more than 100 years, continues to adapt to a changing fundraising environment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not the first pandemic Rotary has had to endure as the Sault Ste. Marie chapter launched during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Still, the organization is feeling the fundraising pinch on account of COVID-19.

"Rotary Fest went virtual, some of our events like the Bell Celebrity Skate just didn’t happen at all, and Snow-O-Rama is a virtual event as well this year," says Megan Wigmore, President of the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie.

"So that makes it a bit challenging for us to raise the funds that we normally would to support children with physical disabilities at Easter Seals and THRIVE Child Development Centre."

Stan Martynuck’s 23-year-old son, Benjamin, is an Easter Seals ambassador and has benefited from both the Easter Seals and THRIVE Child Development Centre program, which Rotary routinely raises money for.

"Right from the start, Rotary has been involved with providing funding for medical equipment, Easter Seals Camp and they help THRIVE Child Development Centre through donations," says Martynuck.

"A lot of social agencies, including Rotary, that provide assistance or groups for our son have shut down and now it’s just virtual stuff on computers."

Wigmore says despite the fundraising challenges posed by COVID, Rotarians remain committed to supporting their community.


An earlier version of this story had Stan Marynuck's name spelled incorrectly.