The beginning of COVID-19. During the pandemic, SIRCH was considered an essential service because of the meals we prepare, freeze and distribute to individuals and families who are ill, frail, disabled, grieving, or are without resources.

The Thrift Warehouses closed for a couple of months. Seasonal residents moved up and others from cities made the leap to working from Haliburton County virtually. When the Warehouses re-opened, they were busy and thriving.

A 3 year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation allowed SIRCH to renovate a 4,000 square foot space in the same building as their office and turn it into a training centre, commercial kitchen, bistro and marketplace. This bright, beautiful, welcoming place is the home of Cook It Up and Ready for Retail training, with the Bistro and Marketplace providing on-site practice opportunities. The plan is to ensure the Bistro & Marketplace are self-sustaining as social enterprises by spring, 2023.

As of April, SIRCH assumed responsibility for CAPC & CPNP services in City of Kawartha Lakes as well as Haliburton County. As difficult as that was during COVID, it was possible to support vulnerable women in both counties with porch visits to deliver gift cards and food, and group get togethers by Zoom.

As businesses closed and unemployment rose, SIRCH’s Community Kitchen geared up to produce 2,000 nutritious meals, soups and servings of fruit each month to give free to those in need. SIRCH partnered with non-profit housing sites and other organizations to distribute these meals in both Haliburton County and in North Hastings.

SIRCH cancelled its 6 week School’s Cool (school readiness program for preschoolers) because of COVID. However when it was clear that schools would re-open in the fall, SIRCH partnered with the school board to provide a 3 week School’s Cool program in Haliburton, Cobconk, Lindsay, Gravenhurst and Huntsville. Lots of challenges but great results!

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