Cathy Nevala, left, president of Local 1039 of the United Commercial Travellers, and Bill Dann, right, first vice-president, present Precious Bundles client co-ordinator Stephanie Schurr, second from left, Dew Drop Inn executive director Michael Quibell, third from left, and kitchen manager Julio Chiodo, second from right, and Boys and Girls Clubs manager Bill Nicholson with donations the UCT club raised through various events held throughout the year. Each organization received $3,000 from the cl

The COVID-19 pandemic has made fundraising for some organizations difficult.

That’s why the support of service clubs like the United Commercial Travellers (UCT) is vital, said Bill Nicholson, manager of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay.

“We couldn’t operate it without it,” said Nicholson, noting the Boys and Girls Clubs operates without funding from any level of government. “Things like this are important.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs, along with the Dew Drop Inn and Precious Bundles, each received $3,000 from the United Commercial Travellers Local 1039 on Saturday.

Nicholson said the club’s $3,000 will go towards viable programming for the children that use the club.

Precious Bundles client co-ordinator and one of its board directors, Stephanie Schurr, echoed Nicholson’s concerns over fundraising during the pandemic. Normal fundraising events like drives or selling tickets aren’t as easy when in-person gathering is restricted.

“When an organization that is so great at fundraising comes to us and offers us funds, we are so grateful,” she said.

Precious Bundles has existed in the community for more than 10 years, providing clothing to children. It is lesser known, making it harder to fundraise, said Schurr, who noted the importance of having connections to volunteers and organizations like the UCT.

The Dew Drop Inn experienced another record-breaking year in 2021, serving more than 121,000 meals.

“The United Commercial Travellers have been longtime supporters of the Dew Drop Inn so we certainly appreciate their ongoing and continued support over the years,” said Michael Quibell, Dew Drop Inn executive director. “We depend on the support of wonderful organizations like them and the community to feed the hungry in Thunder Bay.”

The UCT has been in the Thunder Bay area since 1934 and was started by travelling salesmen as a way to meet people in the communities they visited. In 2021, the service club raised more than $19,000 for organizations through events like takeout and barbecue dinners.

“We really enjoy doing it and it helps the community,” said Cathy Nevala, president of UCT Local 1039.