Tina Knowlan and Brett Anuik in Joshua Tree Park, California, early March 2020. (Submitted)

Chilliwack couple ‘amazed’ by the Community Cares initiative

CCFC project Community Cares has ‘neighbours in need’ matched with volunteer ‘helper neighbours’

One couple hunkered down in Chilliwack is feeling extremely grateful to be receiving assistance from the CCFC Community Cares volunteers.

Tina Knowlan and Brett Anuik of Chilliwack have been in quarantine at home since they got back from a quick trip to California.

Distraught after losing their beloved dog, Fozzy Bear, to lymphoma, they took a last-minute flight out of Bellingham on March 5.

“People had been in crazy hoarding mode, so we stayed away from the crowds,” Knowlan tells The Progress.

“We ran away the next morning to (not so) sunny southern California. While we were there, the world got turned upside down with COVID-19 hysteria.”

They arrived back home in Chilliwack on March 15, to an empty house, no dog, and the prospect of 14 days of self-isolation to make sure they had not picked up the coronavirus.

They’ve had help from the volunteers of CCFC Community Cares and it has “amazed” them. It’s an entirely free service

“It’s fantastic. The group is well organized, focused, super active and they seem to keep the Facebook group free of drama, fear mongering and negativity,” Knowlan said.

It was their neighbour, Eryne Croquet, a CCFC board member, who added the couple to the list of people in need, by registering them with Community Cares.

“I have a few neighbourhood helpers. I feel I am a little high maintenance, so I switch back and forth between them, as not to wear out my welcome,” Knowlan said.

The helpers have been delivering necessities to the couple like medications, and fresh food.

The Community Cares effort has ‘neighbours in need’ being matched with volunteer ‘helper neighbours’ who are assisting them by running errands while they are in self-isolation or quarantine.

More than 100 people stepped forward to become volunteers in the past two weeks, said Christopher Hunt, CCFC board member.

Because of that, they’ve been able to make 15 matches between those in need, and the volunteers.

“We are very glad to have such a large fleet available as we sadly expect the need for assistance will grow greatly in coming weeks,” Hunt said. “As well, as we figure out community service group partnerships over next week, we will likely have jobs to give those folks.”

The volunteers are busy connecting with their neighbours in isolation, and “thereby lightening the load of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Hunt.

“Community Cares was set up to serve anyone facing a higher level of isolation,” Hunt said “It could be someone with compromised immunity; someone in temporary quarantine due to travel return last week; a senior with health risks; a single parent who can’t take their children out to pick up groceries in these times; somebody with heightened mental health anxiety issues; or somebody with accessibility issues.

“Seniors may be our biggest users of this initiative, but really CCFC Community Cares is for anyone facing a higher level of isolation than average.”

The program here is based on one on Vancouver Island. Beacon Buddies organizers in Nanaimo helped Chilliwack organizers with the basic framework of ‘Community Cares,’ with CCFC’s Margaret Reid taking the lead.

CCFC Community Cares organizers have also been reaching out to service groups, like Bowls of Hope, Starfish Backpacks, and SD33, which provide school food programs for students in need to see if they can help.

To register as a helper, or someone needing help, fill out this Google form or contact the CCFC Community Cares group. Those without access to the internet can call 1-778-244-8424.

READ MORE: Community Cares effort gets going

READ MORE: Family medicine still available in Chilliwack

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Community Care is helping those in need with shopping and other tasks. (BP file photo)

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