Everybody’s been through a lot in the past year.
More and more people have needed help putting food on the table, and many businesses have struggled to make ends meet.
Yet through it all, several Durham Region businesses have found ways to give back to their community.
Kyle Paterson has been in the insurance industry for the last five years. Like so many others, he says the past 12 months have been a challenge.
“A lot of our clients either saw reductions in revenue, saw trucks leaving the road or people stop driving; all these little things start trickling down on our revenue too,” said Paterson, director at Bryson Insurance.
Despite the struggles, Paterson says the team at Bryson Insurance wanted to give back after seeing those around them falling on hard times.
“On a bigger scale, we saw how much everybody else was still contributing to, so we didn’t want to lose some of the things we do in the community just because we couldn’t do them in the same way,” said Paterson.
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So they teamed up with a local Eggsmart to give out meals to those working at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and for another initiative, raised $10,000 for a mental health program in the community.
Natalie Prychitko with the Whitby Chamber of Commerce has seen many businesses shut down over the course of the pandemic but she’s also been blown away by the generosity of those fighting their own battle to stay open.
“What’s unbelievable is the resilience that this business community has shown in the Durham Region, while they’re struggling they’re giving back to community, they’re giving back in their own special way,” said Prychitko.
Donette Percy with the Whitby Salvation Army says “we would not have survived this past year without their support.”
The Whitby Salvation Army has seen a 60 to 70 per cent increase in demand since the pandemic started. Last month alone they helped feed 5,000 people.
“Just this past week I believe there were five, six new families,” said Percy.
While it’s been a crazy year, Percy agrees the one thing that’s stood out to her has been the help of the community.
“As fast as the food comes in and is donated from the general public and the businesses, it goes out the door to meet the need,” said Percy.
As for Paterson, he says plans are already in the works for future initiatives and ways to give back to the community.