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Local men's group comes through in the clutch (3 photos)

Guys Who Care of North Huronia continues philanthropic ways during pandemic

Despite a pandemic bringing much of the world to a standstill, there’s no stopping these guys.

During a spring meeting of Guys Who Care of North Huronia, the group continued its philanthropic ways, raising $38,000 for three local charities.

While their April 27 meeting was originally slated to be an in-person affair, the group opted for a virtual event instead.

With a tagline of ‘now more than ever,’ three charities working on the frontlines were chosen to receive grants from the group that has raised and donated more than $191,000 for 12 local charities since its formation in late 2015.

Receiving funds from last month’s meeting are: GBGH Foundation COVID-19 fund- $15,200, Salvation Army Midland food bank - $11,950 and Community Reach transport program - $10,300.

“At our first meeting we had 75 show up,” group co-founder Andrew Combes said, noting there are now 125 to 130 men registered as members, who pledge to attend two meetings a year in the spring and fall.

“They give us a blank cheque of $200 each time. Normally, we get about 70 or so at a meeting. If someone can’t make a meeting, we ask them to please send your cheque.”

The meetings begin with some social time followed by members writing down the name of a charity they’d like to see the group support. The slip with the charity’s name is then dropped in a hat and three charities are drawn at random.

From there, a member has five minutes to pitch why his particular charity should receive that meeting’s pot of money.

“Then we vote on who should get the money,” Combes said. “We usually only give to one charity. On this occasion, we had three names picked from the hat.”

But due to the current circumstances, the group opted to go with all three charities during its meeting last month.

“People were very keen to be involved. Voting went right down the middle between Community Reach and the Salvation Army.”

The local group, which actually adopted the concept from a Toronto-area organization that’s now winding down, has members from Tiny and Tay Townships as well as Midland and Penetanguishene. It has also led to a spinoff group called GBay Gals Give.

“There’s zero overhead to the members,” Combes said. “Whenever we give a grant, we make it directed.”

That means the funds must go to a specific aspect or program of the chosen charity.

“We ask that they send a representative to our next meeting,” he said, noting the representative makes a presentation about their services and provides general information and details on how the Guys Who Care donation is being used.

For charities to be considered, they must have operations that benefit the local community (Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay). As well, there is a two-year moratorium on members making a pitch again for a charity that’s received funds from the group.

But the group still has space for those interested in joining.

“Absolutely, we’re always looking for members. What the Toronto groups found out is that to get 100 guys at your meeting, you need 150 guys on a list.”

The next meeting of Guys Who Care will be held in the Fall of this year. For more information, click here.

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Community Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago
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