Sault Ste. Marie group recovering after break-in
SAULT STE. MARIE -- A group in Sault Ste. Marie dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic is putting out the call for more donations after its headquarters was broken into this week.
"Save Our Young Adults From Prescription Drug Abuse" – or SOYA – had only recently reopened after making preparations to comply with the provincial shutdown and stay-at-home order.
Connie Raynor-Elliott, the group's founder, says a volunteer arrived at the building on Gore Street on Wednesday and discovered the front-door had been forced open.
"We were ransacked," she says.
"They went through everything and they destroyed everything."
SOYA was forced to close for a few days so that volunteers could clean up the mess. It has since reopened, and Raynor-Elliott says that's due to an outpouring of support from the community.
"People are dropping by, dropping off food donations, personal hygiene, there's been people that have been doing monetary donations to get us back on our feet," she says.
"We actually had a lineup when we came in."
Trudy Wamsley, a volunteer with SOYA, says the support is very much appreciated.
"You couldn't ask for more," she says.
"People are just driving up with bags of groceries and different things and getting us well stocked up again."
Wamsley has a deeply personal connection with the work SOYA does. She became a volunteer following the death of her oldest son from a drug overdose.
"At the time, there was no help for me," says Wamsley.
"I was introduced to Connie and I became a member of SOYA. It's like a big family that's there when you need them."
Raynor-Elliott, meantime, says the Sault Ste. Marie Police have been keeping a close watch on the area since the break-in.
She's appealing to anyone who may have witnessed or has video surveillance of the break-in to contact police.