Mount Forest FHT receives grant to reach Mennonite, Amish populations

July 22, 2020

Wellington Advertiser article published July 15, 2020

By Patrick Rafits

WELLINGTON NORTH – The Mount Forest Family Health Team (MFFHT) has received a grant to help it provide virtual support to area Mennonite and Amish residents.

The Centre Wellington Community Foundation (CWCF) announced on July 13 it has awarded a $10,880 grant to the Township of Wellington North.

The grant enables the township to provide support to help the health team obtain appropriate technology and support services to assist Old Order Mennonite, Old Order Amish, and Dave Martin Group Mennonites with access to health services that must be delivered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from the foundation notes the MFFHT catchment area includes approximately 5,217 Old Order Mennonites, Old Order Amish, and Dave Martin Group Mennonites.

They rely on in-person visits to local health care services, as their beliefs do not permit them to have access to technology or only to access technology in a limited way.    

“It’s crucial to find new ways to serve vulnerable populations in our community that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said CWCF executive director Raymond Soucy.

“This initiative achieves that in spades. CWCF is excited to be able to support this community initiative.”

“Obviously this is fantastic news,” said Wellington North councillor Lisa Hern during council’s July 13 video conference meeting.

“You hear a lot in the news about how COVID-19 is affecting different demographics and our Mennonite population is overlooked when people discuss that. So I’m very excited to see that we are not overlooking our Mennonite population.”

“This is a great example of a partnership,” said township CAO Mike Givens.

Township becomes ‘middle man’
Givens noted the health team reached out to the township “to act as a middle man,” in the grant process.

“They have the plan in place as it relates to technology and how they want to implement it with some of the Mennonite community, as well as some of the others that maybe don’t have access to the technology that the rest of us do,” Givens explained.

He noted the health team will deliver the program, while the township’s responsibility includes fulfilling reporting requirements.

“We’ve had a number of announcements over the last year with this partner and we’re getting a little more active and it’s nice to see these partnerships deliver results,” observed Mayor Andy Lennox.

The grant is part of the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), funded by the federal government and administered locally by CWCF.

The ECSF is a $350-million fund being implemented with Community Foundations of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and United Way Centraide Canada, in partnership with local foundations across the country.

Its goal is to provide support to charities and non-profit organizations serving vulnerable Canadians.

CWCF is encouraging organizations servicing Centre Wellington, North Wellington, Minto and Mapleton to apply for grants by going to www.cwcfoundation.ca.

The granting program closes July 27 – or earlier, if all available funding is granted.

“The Centre Wellington Community Foundation is reviewing and awarding funding weekly to support projects that help ensure no one is left behind in COVID-19 recovery measures,” foundation officials state.

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