Some time into the first wave of the pandemic in Chilliwack, something really nice happened.
Flowers started showing up on people’s doorsteps.
In the bigger world, there was fear and job losses, economic uncertainty and daily case numbers. But here in Chilliwack, from Fairfield Island to Promontory to Yarrow, people were opening their doors to find bright, beautiful bouquets.
K.J. Clare was the person behind the project, delivering bouquets of flowers anonymously to people’s doorsteps in order to cheer them up. It was just a little thing that could be done to lift someone’s spirits. Just a little colour. Just a little love.
She called it Do Good Recklessly. And the more you looked around Chilliwack, the more you would find people doing these types of random acts of kindness.
Clara Hooper, a Chilliwack business owner and longtime volunteer at Central elementary school said this year has brought out the best in many.
“To me,” she says, “the highlight of it all is people coming together to help each other in so many ways.”
For Nikki Rekman, having her work life impacted by the pandemic freed up some time to volunteer.
“I ended up having the time to do weekly hamper deliveries as part of the Starfish Backpack/Salvation Army hamper deliveries to various schools in Chilliwack,” she says. “Showing up and seeing the same volunteers, week in and week out was amazing.”
It was a blessing to be a part of it all, she said.
“The pandemic didn’t change the fact that kids in our community get a bunch of their food needs met by these types of programs. Thanks to COVID I got to play a very small but very fulfilling part.”
Then there were the countless people making face masks to give to frontline workers, or to sell as fundraisers, or even to sell as a replacement income. Thousands of masks were zipped up, putting local sewing machines to good use.
Speaking of frontline workers, a 7 p.m. salute began to fill the air around the hospital. Bells rang, people cheered and others sang out or stood with signs to let health care workers coming off shift know they were valued.
New initiatives even came into being, brought on by the increased need for social supports. The Chilliwack Citizens for Change group created one called Extra FARE, to help feed people with special dietary needs, which are more difficult to fulfill at food banks.
There were Local Love micro grants given to a wide range of efforts, from mask making for health care workers and water bottles for those without homes, to a cat food initiative and cupcakes given to nurses.
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