Moncton LGBTQ2+ organization rebuilding as restrictions set to end

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Moncton LGBTQ organization rebuilding as COVID-19 restrictions set to end
WATCH: A Moncton-based LGBTQ organization is trying to rebuild, but is struggling to find board members. With provincial pandemic restrictions ending this month, there’s hope of an influx of candidates soon. But as Suzanne Lapointe reports, they’re not the only organization looking to recruit. – Mar 3, 2022

While it was able to fill its executive positions, River of Pride, a non-profit representing LGBTQ2+ individuals in Moncton, is struggling to recruit five more board members.

“Although we had four people apply for board positions, only one showed up for the meeting,” River of Pride president Rebecca Rogers said, referring to an annual general meeting held in February.

She said the 2021 Pride parade took in a stationary format, which didn’t go over well with the public or volunteers.

“We definitely overextended ourselves both financially and physically and mentally in terms of getting Pride week going and we did have to end up cancelling a number of events as a result of that,” she said, explaining that they had tried to extend the usual Pride week to two weeks last year.

“This year for us is a rebuilding year and we will do the best we can to have a decent Pride this year with the resources we have.”

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River of Pride isn’t alone in needing to rebuild now that the province is dropping all pandemic-related restrictions on March 14, according to Debbi Leblanc, volunteer co-ordinator at the Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick.

The centre, which is partially funded by the Department of Social Development, helps volunteer organizations recruit and structure their organizations, as well as helps volunteers find out where they can help.

Leblanc said she’s hearing from more and more organizations needing help reinstating their volunteer programs.

“I still think maybe that some volunteers are still a little hesitant to not volunteer right now still because of what’s been happening the last two years with the pandemic. I think we sometimes take a step forward and two steps back,” she said in an interview on Thursday.

She says the pandemic restrictions have also made it harder for those who would like to volunteer to find an occasion to do so.

“I have one volunteer contacting me, he wants to go into senior homes and play some music. Well, that’s fantastic but unfortunately, senior homes during the pandemic have not been open to the referral of volunteers.”

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She said she’s expecting to be flooded with calls once the restrictions are officially dropped, as some organizations are still hesitant to reinstate programs due to the frequent stops and starts of the pandemic restrictions.

“People are just starting I believe, to put their volunteer programs in place now whereas after March 14th they’ll do the official request because it can change from one day to the next,” she said.

As for River of Pride, Rogers said putting on a Pride parade was the organization’s top priority this year.

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