Gravelbourg has established a unique community model for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the first action items Council enacted was creating an Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) which is compiled of coordinators from all the essential services plus community members.

The EMO committee inspired several volunteer groups with different initiatives focused on assisting the vulnerable citizens in the community.

One such volunteer group, The Gravlebourg and Area Community Connection, started as a request for help from one of the local physicians.

Trena Fox, Coordinator of the Community Connection group explains,

“Dr. Ramlakhan is the brains behind starting this (group).  She saw a need in our community where seniors and others who are more vulnerable and needed to be taken care of, helped in certain aspects of their life, as we recognize the COVID-19 pandemic was going to hit Canada and was getting closer to Saskatchewan and our community.”

Fox shares how she decided to get involved in organizing the group saying,

“I had just replied that I would be interested in helping and from there we got in touch with one another and came up with a bit of a plan as to what that could look like.   I agreed that I would head up organizing a group of volunteers and created a Facebook page that would connect all of us. I sent out flyers through our post office to all the residences in Gravelbourg and our surrounding communities.  I wanted to let people know that if they needed help in any way at all, they could phone us and we could do what we could to give them a hand in these trying times. I also set up a dedicated cell phone line to make sure that we didn't miss any calls from people who were needing help.”

The response from the community was immediate and overwhelming, according to Fox. She indicated that 65 volunteer members joined the group.  She adds,

“Things we have done to date is created a buddy system where certain volunteers got paired with certain people who maybe need assistance longer-term or maybe they knew they had a two-week quarantine and so they got paired with a buddy to make sure that their needs will match. For example, picking up their mail, picking up groceries and doing different errands for them throughout the community.”

Another example of a preventative measure being implemented at a senior’s center, which according to the latest news, has become a serious concern for a coronavirus outbreak, Fox describes,

“We have one dedicated volunteer who goes into the villa (senior living center) to do deliveries just to reduce the number of people who are going to be in contact with the seniors.  That person does all of the senior residents’ grocery shopping and deliveries and does other errands around the community for them. That has helped to ease a lot of anxiety for the seniors.”

Fox wants to praise everyone in the community for stepping up in such a big way. She notes,

“I want to make sure that we highlight Dr. Ramlakhan and the initiatives she is taking to the community has been so amazing.  She has stepped up and could see this coming from a long ways away and just said, hey, we need to pull together and has just been an absolute champion through this whole thing of encouraging people to find other ways that they can support each other.   She has initiated many projects all by herself on top of being a very busy physician right now. It's incredible.”

Gravelbourg, along with surrounding communities have all come together to initiate and implement regional serves all focused on helping those in need.