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Vital Sudbury community resources given more than $100K from the feds

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It was all about celebrating those community service organizations were on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic during a funding announcement from the federal government in Greater Sudbury on Friday.

Community service organizations, who were at the frontlines during the pandemic, were celebrated in Sudbury Friday at a funding announcement by the federal government. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe announced more than $107,000 is being given and distributed among three groups in the city.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin will receive $66,920, the Blue Door Soup Kitchen will get $26,800 and Bizzy Bea's has been awarded $13,776.

It was all from the Community Services Recovery Fund which enables community service organizations to adapt, modernize and be better equipped moving forward.

"So we know that the pandemic hit us all really hard, now think about the service organizations that provide really important services for some of our most vulnerable populations. So this fund today is to help them recover from that and to help them recover to be able to expand and make their services more resilient for the community," said Lapointe.

"I think what COVID did was it really shone a light on where there is a gap in some systems but it really shone a light on the importance of these organizations and some of them are really small, they're volunteer-led completely so it's important that we continue to support them because they were particularly hit hard by the pandemic."

Among those in the audience was Sudbury Mayor and former MP Paul Lefebvre.

"The federal government is stepping up to continue funding these important organizations with volunteers and supporting them to ensure their services continue,” said Lefebvre.

“We're struggling coming out of COVID, we're still struggling with these organizations, we're struggling as a municipality, the fact that this funding assists us that we have more people, more boots on the ground, people offering these important services to our community and to our most vulnerable population."

Lefebvre told CTV News he was in attendance to say thank you.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in four people experienced a mental health issue during the pandemic which are staggering statistics.

The organization’s local CEO said they are focusing on depression, anxiety and a general sense of not feeling well.

"It's amazing because we have so many different staff, they have great skills, but this enhances for the trauma-informed care, the solution focused therapy and dialectical therapy. What it does is it takes a very person-centred approach and impacts on a great many people in furthering their own goals, their own wellness and their own mindfulness," said CEO Patty MacDonald.

MacDonald added the pandemic has had some lasting impacts on the community and they are looking to focus on those individuals who have a higher acuity of needs.

"It's huge, to be acknowledged by the Red Cross, by Viviane and our mayor – it shows we've finally grown,” said Chantelle Dupuis of Bizzy Bea's.

“We're being acknowledged for the work that we do and the work our volunteers put in so it's fantastic to be recognized and we see ourselves growing in the near future.”

Officials with the Blue Door Soup Kitchen said they were also grateful to the recipients of this aid.

"As you know COVID was hard on all segments of the population, so first and foremost we're pleased that we're going to be able to build a more sustainable service for the community," said board member Susan Boyko.

"It's the little people as well as the big funders that make us viable and so this funding that we receive today will help us to create a robust fundraising strategy, a communications plan and an improved social media presence which is really important today. We are a small organization and we have to think big."

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