Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of kindness have broken out across Canada. Without fanfare or reward, people and organizations have given not only of themselves but also of their possessions to help others.
In Toronto, one man even took it upon himself to stand at the base of the CN Tower and hand out free hand sanitizer to passersby, holding a sign saying “money can’t buy life.”
The following are some examples of Canadians stepping up to assist others in a variety of ways as the pandemic continues with no sign of abating.
In Paris, Ontario, Collin Bliss has been helping three elderly housebound couples by dropping off groceries at their door.
“They just don’t want to go out and risk it,” Bliss told The Epoch Times. “They are all over 80. They get a cold and it knocks them out for two weeks.”
Although Bliss enjoys great health, his income has diminished. The pandemic sidelined his usual opportunities as a contractor and IT project manager. He has filled the time doing yard work and handyman tasks for seniors and single moms.
“I think this situation will wake a lot of people up and strengthen communities as they should be, now [that] the distractions of entertainment [like] sports and concerts is gone. All a blessing.”
Bliss adds, “What all this single-mom helping has done is inspired me to join the big brothers/sisters program. Plus, I started an application for foster parenting.”
‘I Feel Absolutely Honoured’
Saskatchewan resident Shauna Gutheil, a mother of two on a farm near Weyburn, started making masks on her sewing machine after one of her former high school teachers invited her to do so.
“I feel absolutely honoured that I was reached out to,” Gutheil said. “I love to help and I love to sew, so it really wasn’t hard for me to say yes.”
The mask design comes from a video by Erica Arndt and includes two exterior pieces of cotton, a flannel middle layer, and elastic to go around the ears. Gutheil has already sent 30 masks to Ile-à-la-Crosse in northwestern Saskatchewan where her former teacher now works in health care.
Gutheil’s more recent masks substitute flannel with a piece of furnace filter. She plans to send 60 more to Ile-à-la-Crosse by the end of the week, with others going to a doctor in Regina.
As Gutheil fights the virus one stitch at a time, she encourages others to do what they can.
“During this crisis I feel it’s very important that we all give what we can, whether it’s a smile to brighten someone’s day or a task such as mine, by sewing.”
Teamwork and Collaboration
Dentists David Stock and Derek Thiessen of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, have also pitched in to help supply masks—although not the home-made kind. The two consolidated their N95 mask supplies to handle dental emergencies and relieve the strain on hospitals.
“[T]he teamwork and collaboration I have experienced with other Swift Current dentists this past week is unsurpassed!” Stock said in a Facebook post on March 26. “Helping our community means so much to all of us.”
But Stock wasn’t done. He learned how to use a 3D printer to produce face shields for health care workers. Local companies offered their printers to print coloured frames. Stock reached out for supplies to make more and got responses from friends and strangers alike.
“I am so grateful for the level of support from people all across Saskatchewan that want to help donate face shields during this crisis,” he said.
‘Compassion for Each Other is Growing’
“It has been absolutely wonderful to see the community come together to show care and concern for people that have very little,” said Rene McIntyre, pastor of Trumpet of Truth Christian Ministries in Woodstock, Ontario.
McIntyre’s church dedicates part of its space for The Refuge, a drop-in centre that ran one day a week. After COVID-19 precautions closed the doors on some public programs for the vulnerable, the centre has been open every weekday.
“So many people from the community have stepped up by donating food by making meals and by donating finances in support of us taking care of the homeless during this pandemic,” McIntyre said.
The Refuge tries to meet needs both personal and practical. In addition to meals and laundry facilities, the ministry provides court support, family reconciliation, and personal mentorship to overcome addiction and poverty.
Recent restrictions by the Ontario government lowered how many people can be inside The Refuge at a time. Daily visitors have dropped from 60 to 30, yet the impact continues.
“There’s been an immense impact on our friends that visit the refuge for care,” McIntyre said. “We are seeing transformation in their character. Compassion for each other is growing where there once was animosity and hatred.”