In Canada, kindness is contagious. Canadians have a long history of showing up for each other in the face of adversity: taking in travellers stranded in Newfoundland after 9/11, joining allies to fight WWI and WWII, and rising up to support far away communities when natural disasters occur.
During the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, Canada’s character continues to shine through — through acts of kindness, humanity and good will.
Here is a coast-to-coast look at just some of the stories of kindness, generosity and alliance coming from communities across Canada.
Hot Meals for Truckers
Nova Scotian Crystal Blair is worried about the well-being of drivers during the outbreak, so is offering free hot meals and hot showers at her truck stop. Because the food is donated by community members, she can give it away for free … along with a roll or two of toilet-paper for the road.
Social Distancing Lobsters
With export markets grinding to a halt, lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia have taken it upon themselves to find unique ways to share their catch with the community — from a distance. One fisherman has set up in a local parking lot and asks “shoppers” to yell their orders from the car. Using long poles, he drops the lobsters near their vehicles, and money is accepted in a separate bucket extended from a distance.
Online Kitchen Parties
The Ultimate Online Nova Scotia Kitchen Party on Facebook is a music group started on March 19th and has a global following of over 240,000 people. Showcasing everything from little kids playing the piano to Joel Plaskett strumming a tune, the party is connecting people with music, cheer and hope across the country.
While the news isn’t often good these days, Quebecers want the rest of the country to know “It’s going to be OK” via their #çavabienaller hashtag. The hashtag — along with hand-drawn rainbows — have become symbols of hope and faith, and have been spreading across both social media and in the front windows of homes throughout the country.
The Durham Region Sewers
Avid sewer Lee-Anne Moore-Thibert made a few face masks for her family in Oshawa last month. After posting photos on Facebook, she began receiving requests from nurses and others in the healthcare community. To keep up with the demand, Lee-Anne put out a request for other sewers to help. Within a day the group grew to 300 people. Now the group (renamed Ontario Sews) is more than 400 sewers strong and filling thousands of requests.
Empowering the Most Vulnerable
Another Toronto-based company, ample Labs is repurposing their technology to support the homeless during this crisis. A non-profit organization that helps those facing homelessness through technology are building “COVID-Bot.” Recognizing that 94 per cent of the Toronto homeless population has a mobile phone, their app will give people accurate information on COVID-19 and provide community resources, tips and FAQs.
Virtual Jigging Competitions
With traditional jigging competitions in Saskatchewan cancelled, jigging enthusiast Elizabeth Michel organized “From our home to yours — Talent Showcase ’20.” The Facebook group helps connect members in order to compete online, with judging taking place over a few days.
While it started out in the Pelican Narrows community of Saskatchewan, the group has grown to more than 9,000 members across the Prairies. “Jigging is a way to express who I am as a young Indigenous woman and it empowers me,” says one member. “And it’s important to share with others.”
Connecting Volunteers with Those in Need
In a matter of days, North Forge Technology Exchange, an RBC Commercial Banking client, produced and launched HelpNextDoorMB. The app allows Manitobans to ask for assistance or volunteer. As of April 7th, there were over 6,000 users of the app across 168 communities. The majority of requests are for delivery services. The second most? A request for a phone call for someone to talk with.
Cross-cultural Collaboration in Yukon
The vastness of Canada’s northern regions means residents are no strangers to physical distancing. Even so, two residents of the Yukon have taken it upon themselves to promote how Canadians can come together while maintaining distance. In an uplifting video, Jordan Lincez and Gurdeep Padher created a cross-cultural celebration of bagpipes, bhangra dancing and Canadian pride.
Making (Modified) Wedding Dreams Come True
For couples who had planned weddings before the COVID-19 outbreak, Venue 308 in Calgary is helping locals celebrate their wedding day … even if it’s not exactly as they had originally imagined. The venue is currently offering 3-hour bookings to host ceremonies and photography sessions — while always maintaining a strict minimum 2-metre distance rule. Additional precautions include a 7-day minimum between bookings, professional cleaning services, hand sanitizers, and gloved staff members.
COVID Community Support – Greater Vancouver Area
After encountering an angry woman forcing her way past a long line at a grocery checkout and knocking her mother’s cane from her hand, Makalya Goldsmith created a COVID support group. “I’ve created this group so people who feel comfortable going shopping or running quick errands can do so for those who are at risk by going out.” Quickly, the group has grown to more than 1,000 members.” Determined Canadians should view each other as allies and not opponents during these times, Makalyla formed the COVID Community Support (Greater Vancouver Area) on Facebook.
Stepping up the nightly healthcare worker tribute
Mark Donnelly, the iconic singer of the national anthem at the Vancouver Canucks’ home games, recently made his nightly tribute to healthcare workers extra special. Dressed in his signature tuxedo, Donnelly put on a memorable performance of “O Canada” in New Westminster, as residents in neighbouring condos banged pots and pans to show support of B.C.’s frontline health workers.
Any act of kindness — big or small — has a way of inspiring others to pay it forward. During challenging times, Canada’s character shines through with kindness, humanity and national good will.
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