On CBC Kitchener-Waterloo’s The Morning Edition, we continue to feature stories from of our community stepping up to help one another during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, we bring you stories from a local artist who is taking the time to paint dozens of storefronts in Elora, as well as a Ramadan food drive that started its campaign early to address food insecurity in the region and more.
Painting storefronts in Elora
A little bit of paint can go a long way. Local artist Bear Epp has been adding some colour to downtown Elora one rainbow at a time.
Epp says she’s had most of her projects cancelled due to COVID-19 and she knew local businesses were also hurting. So, she got her paint and brushes out and decided to get to work.
“Mostly I think it’s about looking into the future and bringing joy,” Epp said. “Spreading some cheer in a quiet little village.”
Making masks and gowns
The space that workers at Len’s Mill Stores used to cut fabric for customers before COVID-19 is now being used to cut fabric for kits to make masks, caps and gowns.
Company president Pete Menary had to lay off 220 employees from 11 stores in southern Ontario in March. That included stores in Hawkesville, Cambridge, Waterloo and Guelph.
But many of the employees still wanted to help and helped develop a plan to create and sell kits for face masks, surgery caps and gowns that could be used in hospitals, long-term care homes or by individuals.
Menary says he didn’t know if he could pay people who were offering to do the work and they told him, “count me in and we’ll figure it out later.”
Ramadan donation drive
A local food and donation drive is hoping to respond to the additional need for food in Waterloo Region due to COVID-19 over the next few weeks.
The Give30 Waterloo Region campaign normally runs during the month of Ramadan, which starts on April 23. This year however, to further help those in need, the campaign launched early.
“The need is now and we have to act now, so we really wanted to get into the spirit of Ramadan before Ramadan,” said Sarah Shafiq from the Coalition of Muslim Women of K-W.
She adds the campaign will only focus on online donations this year and hopes people will donate the money they normally would spend on coffee or takeout to the food drive.
“The little contributions and small donations they add up,” she said. “Contributions could be from anybody regardless of faith and community. It’s that spirit that is shared among everybody.”
Support from community and staff
Greg Bechard, president and CEO of Elmira District Community Living, is praising the help they received from the community and the hard work of his staff during their first outbreak.
One Elmira group home saw 13 residents and 10 staff members test positive for COVID-19. Now, almost two weeks later, they’re coming out the other side.
“We have a lot of heroes in our organization, let me tell you. I’m very proud of our employees and how they stepped up to the plate, and our union has been fantastic,” he said.
“We had a large number of staff step up to the plate and say, ‘We’re there.'”