Gravenhurst Against Poverty’s (GAP) Monday meal pick-up will continue on Easter Monday.

You will be able to pick up either a fresh, nutritious meal or just produce to cook with from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM at the Trinity United Church in Gravenhurst. 

Past Chair of GAP Joanne Twist says the program started before the COVID-19 pandemic but was forced to evolve once cases started to rise and restrictions were in place. “We knew there were people that really enjoyed that hot meal,” she tells the newsroom. “How can we change this up so that we can still provide something.”

Twist says they work in collaboration with local grocery stores and Swiss Chalet in Gravenhurst who donate soups every week. Twist says owner Arvin Gulati has been an “incredible supporter” of the lunch since it started. The fresh produce is donated by the grocery stores, with Twist adding that everything is donated. “We try and make sure they’re nutritious,” she adds.

“I think it’s been received incredibly well,” Twist says, adding that around 85 people show up every Monday to pick up a meal, produce, or both. Sometimes, she says people pick up multiple meals to drop off for their neighbours or others in need in the community. “We’re also in a situation where people need a lot of things that they can’t possibly carry home themselves, so some of our volunteers drive them home,” she adds. 

Twist says that while the meals are important, just as important is the social interaction that happens when people drop by. “We consider these people our friends and neighbours,” she says. “One fellow comes every week and always has a joke for us.”

She adds that with programs like this, sometimes people don’t realize it’s just as much about the community aspect as it is about giving out meals. Twist points out that proper COVID-19 protocols are followed. “People line up outside and come in a few at a time,” she says, explaining they have a u-shaped setup that allows for distancing requirements to be met as people pick their meal up.

“I’m very positive about it,” Twist says of the program. She adds that some people who show up comment that it must be so much work to put this together, but she doesn’t mind. “We like to give back in any way that we can,” she says.