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Apr. 1, 2020 | Wednesday
Local News
COVID-19 pandemic brings community together
Martin Mazza pictured inside his restaurant Italian Pizza and Subs shared his appreciation for the Facebook group NOTL 4 All in bringing the community closer. (Julia Sacco/Special to Niagara Now)

Amid the stress and fear surrounding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of NOTL have banded together to support the most vulnerable in the community.

The Facebook group NOTL 4 All has become an outlet for community members and small business owners to share news updates and provide helpful tips, from how to properly wash hands to which stores have toilet paper.

“Everyone has come together on the page and are willing to help their neighbours and share whatever they have with everyone else,” said Annmarie Baldin, one of the group’s administrators.

With 30.9 per cent of the population being over 65, the aging community of NOTL is reasonably fearful of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Kathy Whitmell-Brown, manager of the Avondale store in Virgil, said older community members are more in need of anti-bacterial and household products.

“They’re trying to find hand sanitizer. They’re not hoarders. They’re just trying to get by with what they need,” Whitmell-Brown said.

Krista London-Verticchio, owner of local business My Little Party, made a post on the page hoping to organize volunteers to run errands for the most vulnerable in the community.

“My goal is to truly remind everyone to look out for each other! There are so many people in this community who don’t have a support system around them,” she said in an interview.

“So far numerous people have volunteered their time to the service. To name a few: Phil’s Valu-Mart has waived their pick-up fee and Stone Road Pharmacy is offering free delivery of prescriptions,” London-Verticchio said.

Juliet Orazietti said her company Linc Farm at Southbrook delivers products free anywhere in town on Friday afternoons.

“I just thought I’d make sure now that people are more interested in not leaving the house, that they have an option,” Orazietti said.

She said the group has not only helped give resources to those in need, but is spreading the word about small businesses during times of financial loss.

Group administrator Daniel Turner added that small businesses can lose everything during times of economic weakness such as this.

“Even just a few weeks or few months of disruption could be enough to really harm a business or see some businesses close,” he said.

“That’s why I think it’s important for our group to give these businesses a voice to show the different things they’re doing to keep their businesses clean and customers safe.”

The page gains new supportive and lighthearted posts every day, it is through this coming together of a community that Virgil restaurant owner Martin Mazza says the pandemic has brought members closer rather than pushing them six feet apart.

“It’s not hurting our community and it’s not dividing us, it’s actually bringing people closer together.”

 

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