Gravenhurst ready to tackle Coldest Night
As the coldest night of the year approaches a group of concerned Gravenhurst residents are hoping that warm hearts will help them achieve their goals.
On Feb. 23 the Gravenhurst against Poverty (GAP) organization will be taking part in The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraiser to do their part in helping to combat poverty in south Muskoka.
The fundraiser is a family-friendly national walk-a-thon that helps raise funds for charities that serve hungry, homeless and hurting people in Gravenhurst, and in 136 other communities across Canada.
“As we are a fledgling organization, we felt that partnering with CNOY would provide us with a wider community footprint and help to highlight our mission as well as our presence within the community,” says GAP Chair, Allan Lynk. “We want and more importantly need, people who will volunteer, donate, mentor and support our goals. The more people we can get on board, the more help we can provide to those in need.”
There are 2, 5 and 10km option for walkers and a complete breakdown of how to get involved can be found at cnoy.org/location/gravenhurst.
The GAP organization itself only came into being a year ago after a group of concerned citizens in the Gravenhurst decided they needed to do something about poverty in their area.
“Soon others in the Gravenhurst area were invited to join the conversation and in very short order GAP was born with the same anticipation and hope that we often instil on new beginnings,” says Lynk.
Sometimes the simplest of concerns creates the simplest of solutions, says Lynk,
“In this case the first concern was that many people in the greater Gravenhurst area were living below the poverty line. Families were having to choose between food and heat, clothes and transportation,” he says. “The simplest solution was to find more food and make it accessible and that’s how we started.”
Lynk says from the beginning GAP has billed itself as an inclusive, grassroots, compassionate and community-based collection of Gravenhurst residents.
“People, whom for no other reason, than it seems the right thing to so, gather to understand issues facing the more vulnerable in our community, seek out resources and ultimately try and provide solutions that help people sooner rather than later,” he says. “It’s also fostered a non-judgemental environment which does not ask people what they deserve but rather what do they need, right here, right now.”
Lynk says a community is only as strong as it most vulnerable citizens. For a community to be vibrant, welcoming and productive, all people need to feel as if they belong, he adds.
“By raising the issue of poverty and the gaps in services, we all stand to make our community a better place to live, to work and to raise children,” says Lynk. “This is not a group in which those who have help those who do not; it is a grassroots organization where people of all walks, incomes, and situations have a voice. Of this fact we are most proud.
We are all partners, neighbours and hopefully in the long run, friends.”