Local grape growers benefit from their community, and it’s time to give back to that community, says the chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario.
The organization made “an easy decision” to support those affected by COVID-19, through a generous donation to fund the purchase of a $66,000 ventilator for the Niagara Health system, says Matthias Oppenlaender, a local grape grower, and chair of the provincial association.
“This is where we live and work and raise our families, and this pandemic has affected all of us in some way,” says Oppenlaender.
Last week, he decided the Grape Growers of Ontario “needed to do something to help. We live in this community, and we rely on the community to support us, to buy our product. We say buying local matters, so giving back also matters.”
There was no hesitation when he mentioned to members that now is the time to help the community, he says.
“There was no discussion. They very quickly agreed. It made me very proud to be the chair of the Grape Growers,” says Oppenlaender.
“This was an opportunity, actually a responsibility to help out during these difficult times.”
The donation has been made out of the Grape Growers’ general fund to the Niagara Health Foundation, which is fundraising through an online community campaign to help purchase equipment to support Niagara hospitals, medical teams and patients.
The Grape Growers of Ontario is also encouraging industry partners, businesses and suppliers to “step up and invest in needed resources for Ontario communities to tackle COVID-19,” says Oppenlaender.
“The amount doesn’t matter. What matters is being there for the community. It doesn’t have to be a ventilator. Any donation will help purchase personal protective equipment, masks, whatever is needed. Locals giving back matters now.”
To learn more or donate, please visit, www.SupportNHF.com.
Funds raised will directly help patients at Niagara Health who have been diagnosed with the virus.