Resident rallies community support for Martha’s Table during pandemic

As the situation concerning the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 continues to affect the day-to-day lives of Kingstonians, many are looking for ways to help out their fellow residents in the community.

With the government and health care authorities urging social distancing, it can be difficult to find ways for the community to come together. That’s why one local resident, comedian and artist Al Babcock, came up with his own initiative that can bring the community together and make a difference, without the risk of spreading the virus.

On Monday, Mar. 16, 2020, Babcock launched a GoFundMe campaign for Martha’s Table, a local community centre that provides a variety of social supports including daily meals for those in need.

“I wanted to start fundraising for Martha’s Table because, being born in raised in Kingston, you don’t have to look very far to see someone that this organization has helped out. I have done work for Mental Health Awareness and Cancer Research, but really wanted to find some way to help out the less fortunate during this Covid-19 crisis,” Babcock said. “Almost everything you see in the media or shared on Facebook is negative and I would like to shine a positive light.”

Although Martha’s Table has scaled back their services during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will still be providing meals in a to-go format for their clients, the organizations said on Monday, Mar. 16, 2020.

“Martha’s Table will be adjusting how we serve our guests effective Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020. We are asking our wonderful group of volunteers to stay home and safe for two weeks, until March 31,” the organization said in a social media post.

During this time, Martha’s Table intends to serve take-out meals to their guests daily, as long as they are able to. The meals will be available at the front door from 11:00 am to1:00 pm starting Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020.

“The staff at Martha’s hopes that by social distancing we will help flatten the curve of Covid-19. If you have any questions or concerns please call the office or email,” they said.

For Babcock, this is the ideal time for the community to rally around the charity, which normally also provides access to their Friendship Room – which offers computer and internet access – as well as a place to warm up, socialize, and grab a beverage during the day.

“In these times where you see people behaving so selfishly, we need to remember about the people may not have to resources to help themselves during such a time of need, and you can never underestimate just how much providing a hot meal and place to get out of the weather can help a person,” said Babcock, who has also reached out to Martha’s Table and signed up for their volunteer program. “I like to go above and beyond and I decided I could use my comedy social media platforms to maybe do something good for the community. Kingston has provided me a stage for my comedy and a home for 28 years. I want to give back however I can.”

Babcock is hoping to raise $1,000 for Martha’s Table over the next two weeks while the charity is functioning with its skeleton staff to continue serving its clients. To find out more or make a donation, click here.

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