Wilmot Stronger Together website launches to support local businesses and non-profits

A group of Wilmot volunteers has launched a new website that provides information about local businesses and organizations who are still able to serve the public under the recently declared state of emergency in Ontario.

Wilmot Stronger Together (www.wilmotstrongertogether.ca) is named after a Facebook community group, and lists details of how businesses’ day-to-day services have changed since the new restrictions.

The idea for the site came from a suggestion by Wilmot Coun. Jenn Pfenning to her followers on social media on March 19. “Run a business or organization in Wilmot? What are you doing to accommodate the evolving challenges of the COVID-19 situation? Let me know and I’ll add you to my website,” she posted.

After discussing it with her friend, New Hamburg-based graphic designer Nigel Gordijk, the plan changed to creating a separate website that used a name local residents were already familiar with. The Wilmot Stronger Together Facebook group recently passed the 1,000-member mark, just 10 days after it was created by Josh Halbert.

New Dundee’s Mark Cameron and Baden’s Susan Sutherland helped collate the data for the site, while Gordijk began designing it. At that time, many businesses were still operating, taking precautionary safety measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Work had nearly been completed on the website when, on March 24, the provincial government ordered all non-essential businesses to close. That rendered much of the information obsolete, and about half the listings had to be deleted.

The Wilmot Stronger Together registration page states that only organizations who are “legally allowed to operate during the current state of emergency” will be included. At the time of launching, there were nearly 30 listings, including restaurants offering takeout and delivery, grocery stores, and local services that are now being provided from people’s home offices.

Website users can browse by category or area within Wilmot township.

“This website will remain live for as long as our community is affected by the current health crisis,” said Gordijk. “I’m hoping that means we can take it down before too long.”