A Pitt Meadows resident is among the 2021 Medal of Good Citizenship Recipients, announced recently by the Honours and Awards Secretariat of British Columbia.
The only one from the community to win the award, Lori Girard was recognized for taking community service initiatives in 2021 when COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
Lisa Beare, minister of citizens’ services MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, presented the award to Girard through an online ceremony and praised Girard for her efforts to help others in the community.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the local resident began the Riverside Response Initiative.
She created and empowered a team of volunteers from Riverside Church – where she is a volunteer pastor – and the local community to pick up and receive donations of food.
They also received monetary donations which were used to purchase groceries.
Riverside Response created packages of groceries that those in need could pick up for themselves and their families. Deliveries of groceries were also made available. Through Riverside Response, some volunteers were able to run errands for those who couldn’t drive or were self-isolating.
They also made connections with people who were out of town and were able to check on family members for them.
More than $95,000 worth of food has been given to those in need to date.
A few months later, Girard could see many people were negatively affected by the pandemic, both emotionally and mentally. She created Hope Calls, a telephone service many people have used when they need to talk to someone. They have been offered hope, compassion, prayer and external resources where necessary.
Girard then found out about another community need, leading to the Welcome Home Initiative. Many families transitioning from shelters or community programs and moving into their new homes have no furniture, linens, dishes, nor sense of community belonging.
She has made many contacts with individuals and businesses in the Tri-Cities to collect household items, clean and restore them, and get them to the families in need.
The goal for each family is to surprise them with a beautiful ‘reveal’ when possible.
There is a partnership with a volunteer designer to create attractive home environments for families.
Bea’s Kloset now partners with the Welcome Home Initiative to provide household items families need. Social workers have noted the uniqueness of this program and all three of these outreach projects created by Girard are still ongoing today.
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