It’s the time of year again to go through the boxes of old documents piling up and taking space in your basement.
The goal is two-fold — to get rid of those papers safely, avoiding the possibility of identity theft, while helping a very important local organization.
The fundraising Shred-it event has become an annual tradition in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a reminder for locals to go through their documents and dispose of them securely. It originated as a fundraiser for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital Auxiliary, and once the hospital closed, was taken over by members of the NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, who continue to carry on with it.
Like everything else during this pandemic, there are some necessary changes this year, says Bonnie Bagnulo, palliative care executive director.
The fundraiser is moving from the Meridian Credit Union parking lot to the community centre, with some other necessary adjustments.
Doug Martin, Virgil branch manager of the Meridian Credit Union, “was always our biggest fan, and he is still behind us,” says Bagnulo. He has always been an incredible supporter of the event, she says, as have credit union volunteers, but this year, upper management has decided it’s not wise to offer their location at this time.
“They thought it best to hold off until September or October, but we’re used to having it in August. We reached out to the Town and they gave us permission to use the community centre.”
However, the Meridian Credit Union is continuing to sponsor the event, says Bagnulo, and is funding the Shred-it truck. Martin, with his banking background, has always strongly endorsed the event, and stressed the importance of shredding documents that could aid a fraudster involved in the big business of stealing identities. Tax-related mail with social insurance numbers is especially dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands, as are old debit and credit cards that can also go through a shredder.
In the past the fundraiser has drawn on volunteers from the near-by Vineridge Academy, but this year will rely totally on members of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service to cover two shifts.
“We thought it best to keep it within our own organization,” says Bagnulo, with volunteers wearing masks and gloves, and physical distancing.
The palliative care service has continued to operate during the pandemic, but differently, says Bagnulo.
Volunteers are relying on virtual visits or telephone support for most clients. To that end, volunteers are grateful to the NOTL Community Fund for a recent donation to fund iPads for long-term care residents, which will make it easier to connect with them.
Window visits are occurring when possible, and for community visits, if clients can come out on their porch, with the help of a caregiver if needed, volunteers can chat with them.
For those who are bedridden it’s more difficult.
“We’ve all had to adapt, but we’re having significantly fewer visits. Last year we had more than 160 clients, and 1,800 visits. This year I can see it will be less due to COVID. We can’t reach everyone,” she says.
The Shred-it event is Saturday, Aug. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the community centre parking lot. A banker’s box of paper can be shredded for $8, or three boxes for $20.
The NOTL Community Palliative Care Service has been providing caring support and quality of life for seriously ill residents of NOTL, their families and caregivers, since 1986, with trained volunteers who provide compassionate, emotional support, and relief for caregivers.
It also has a variety of equipment to lend, including wheelchairs, recliner lift chairs and walkers, and has an extensive lending library of books, CDs and DVDs.
For more information about palliative care, call 905-468- 4433 or visit notlpc.com.