The Helpers | This week’s stories of our community stepping up in a pandemic

It’s the end of another week and here at CBC Kitchener-Waterloo’s The Morning Edition, we continue to highlight our community’s helpers who are stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We had some great stories this week including one about a volunteer group in Elora who is delivering lunches to essential and front line workers.

The Centre Wellington Food Bank is also sharing food donations to neighbouring food banks and the Drop-In Centre in Guelph after getting tons of food donations from the community.

Here are other stories about helpers in our community.

Re-using N95 masks

Food scientist Keith Warriner at the University of Guelph may have found a solution that would allow health-care professionals to re-use N95 masks up to 10 times.

Personal protective equipment like N95 masks have been crucial in hospitals and long-term care homes throughout this pandemic. Part of the problem is that many of the items in need are single use.

Warriner said the process of sanitizing N95 masks involves a device that normally cleans fruits and vegetables without the use of water and received Health Canada approval last week.

University of Guelph professor Keith Warriner may have found a way to re-use N95 masks by using a device that is normally used to clean fruits and vegetables without water. 5:15

Delivering ‘lunches with love’

An initiative called Lunches with Love is feeding essential workers in Elora while also supporting a local cafe.

Kathy Mayo and her husband John Scott raised thousands of dollars online, which they say is enough money to deliver meals to people working through the pandemic for the next month.

Mya Hunt is one of the local students who has written a thank you note to an essential workers. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Each lunch is prepared at The Elora Cafe and is delivered with a thank you note from a student at a local school.

“We were thinking about ways to help our community and we knew that Paula at The Elora Cafe was going to be closed and we were worries about her and her business,” Mayo said.

John Scott and Kathy Mayo have raised enough money online to deliver lunches to essential workers in Elora for at least the next month. The program, called Lunches with Love, not only provides front line workers with a meal. It also helps support a local cafe. 5:04

Sharing food donations

The Centre Wellington Food Bank has recently received so many food donations from the community that manger Fred Aleksandrowicz said they are sharing that food with neighbouring food banks.

“I support three food banks north of Wellington … we support the Drop In Centre in Guelph with any excess food,” Aleksandrowicz said.

“People have kind of woken up.”

The Centre Wellington Food Bank has been helping out neighbouring food banks by providing additional food donations. (Isaac Olson/CBC)

Celebrating a birthday from a distance

Margaret Laurette turned 89 earlier this week and to celebrate her special day, friends and family gathered outside her Kitchener home with signs and singing Happy Birthday to her. 

Even police and fire crews rolled through her building’s parking lot in cruisers and trucks, making it look more like a birthday parade.

“I was ready to laugh and I was ready to cry,” said Laurette.

Shawn Zhang helped coordinate the surprise party with Laurette’s children. Zhang has been delivering groceries to Laurette throughout the pandemic.

“I hope this is a birthday that she remembers and I hope that she’s going to feel like a queen,” he said.

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