Even before COVID-19 a remarkable group of individuals and two businesses, PENNA & CO in Broadmead and Quadra London Drugs, came together to support a family newly arrived from Iran. A few months ago our executive director, Estelle Paget, met this family at a “Books for Breakfast” event at Bruce Hutchison Library, organized by the early years ‘table’ she belongs to – Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood. Estelle learned that the family was living in a furnished suite that they could not afford, but “had nothing” in the way of beds or other furniture that would allow them to rent an unfurnished apartment. Ever the optimist, Estelle suggested that they find an apartment and “the furniture would come.”
Things moved very quickly after that! The family found an apartment and needed to move two weeks later! Estelle sent out a request to neighbours. Her daughter, a physician, sent a message to other physicians. The response was overwhelming! Offers of help immediately poured in. Some offered to pick up and move items, others to donate items. On moving day it was ‘a dance’ where kind neighbours and physicians, of all backgrounds and ages, dropped off furniture and helped the family set up their new home. The beautiful kitchen shop in Broadmead, Penna and Co, wanted the family to have something new and generously donated an amazing large non-stick, high quality square fry pan, dish rack, oven mitts and other items. No one had been able to donate a broom and dustpan, bucket and mop. Estelle asked at London Drugs. Immediately the manager on call said, “Yes, we can do that.” The family from Iran is overjoyed by the kindness of Canadians. And those who donated time and items to the family have “fallen in love” with the family who are already talking about ways they will be able to help new Canadians and others in the future.
A few weeks after the move the family purchased boxes of chocolates for those who had given them not only furnishings and help but a warm welcome and a sense of belonging to their new community.
These are hard times for many. At KidCareCanada we are confident that the kindness of Canadians, in communities across the country will once again support newcomers, family and friends experiencing hardships related to COVID-19.