Donations for HHHS roll in from online yoga class
By Jenn Watt
Update: Gail Holness says she intends to continue her online yoga into the month of May, with donations going to Haliburton County food banks.
Yoga instructor Gail Holness is reaching out to the community and helping to give back by moving her classes online and providing access through donations to Haliburton Highlands Health Services.
She said the closure of the schools and community centres affected her directly: “I was in effect, like so many others, out of a job,” she wrote in an email to the Times. “... It was hard to sleep and impossible to know what to do next.”
Holness decided that she would take her classes online, with access made available by donation. She added two donate buttons to her website last week – one for $20 and the other for $50 – and by Tuesday, April 14, she had raised more than $1,000. Because she doesn’t have an internet connection at home, Holness had to rely on the generosity of others to record and post her videos.
“I reached out to the community and Quantum Passivhaus offered their hand. Owners Angie and Abby Xerri felt that during this unsettled time it was more important than ever that I continue teaching and helping the community,” she said. “They gave me a key to their office, a space to set up my mat and access to their internet. Because of them, I am able to offer my classes online as a way of raising money for HHHS.”
The initiative, which Holness calls “Online for our Frontline,” asks for a $20 donation in exchange for access to a live online class and a recorded video of that class for later use. A $50 donation grants access to all online classes for the month of April – posted Monday through Thursday, plus a recorded copy.
People responded almost immediately to the fundraiser.
“The donations [started] coming in, by the end of the weekend I had raised $1,000. That number continues to grow,” Holness said. “I have people joining me from all over. Today my classes reached all the way to Jamaica.”
She said she’s sending a link to Lisa Tompkins, executive director of the HHHS Foundation, to distribute to all frontline workers. She is also creating short, easy-to-follow weekly videos for seniors and those at risk, which she is posting to her Facebook page.
Holness said the project has been uplifting.
“Everyone wanting to help! Everyone wanting to share. It has been a wonderful experience and I am very grateful for all the support I continue to receive,” she said.