The Grind Pembroke recognizes that, due to life circumstances, many of its patrons and clients will always need some type of “hand out” – be it food, hygiene products etc.

While limited resources will not allow us to support such individuals for extended periods of time, we try to do our best to identify how their short-term basic needs can be met – either directly from the community donations with which we are entrusted, or by referral to other community resources.

Because of our limitations, we started to re-focus our efforts prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the move from the downtown core. The goal of this re-focussing was to provide more of a “hands up” to help individuals in need become more resilient and self-supporting.

One way we tried to do this was by facilitating information sessions using volunteer community “experts” on a variety of topics of interest and benefit to those who wanted to improve their lives. For example, we partnered with other organizations to conduct sessions on the rights and responsibilities of tenants, on human trafficking and provided assistance in completing income tax returns. We also sponsored flu inoculation clinics, with the help of the Renfrew County Paramedic Services and the Renfrew County & District Health Unit.

We have plans to continue this approach once our facility renovations are completed and COVID-19 health regulations permit in-door activities. We will be in a better position to host such activities given that our new location will eventually have dedicated space for this purpose. This dedicated space – currently occupied by The Grind’s administrative services office, will become available when we are able to move administrative functions to the second level. Plans for this space include the construction of a “virtual health” consultation room where clients in need of professional health and social service assistance can be connected remotely.

We’ve already tested the waters at our new location by sponsoring two COVID-19 vaccination clinics for patrons and clients and by partnering with Renfrew County Addiction Treatment Services to host their on-site mobile service. We have exciting plans to eventually offer workshops on budgeting, nutrition and menu planning, cooking, mental health supports etc.