Brianna is a volunteer with The New Common who helps deliver food to seniors and others who need support in the neighbourhood. We spoke to Brianna to understand what motivated her to volunteer during these trying times.
As an important service that operates on the front line during this pandemic, your work is very valuable and it also carries with it some risk. Can you tell us about some safety measures that you take to minimize this risk?
I have been wearing a face mask and gloves and have continued to maintain social distancing protocols by keeping 6 feet apart from others. I refrain from entering elevators when social distancing measures cannot be followed. As well, after delivering the meals I use hand sanitizer and wash my hands when I get home.
Can you tell us about any interesting or insightful experiences you’ve had volunteering for this program?
My husband and I received a lovely card for The Corner. It was from a woman who was recently widowed and had broken both of her ankles. As you can imagine, this makes it extremely difficult to get necessities like food. In her card, she thanked The Corner for organizing the program and preparing the food.
How have residents and community members responded to the meal program?
They are appreciative and always say thank you.
Why do you feel that this meal program is necessary for the St. James Town community?
Food is a basic necessity and it’s harder than ever to fulfill this fundamental need. For individuals with a weakened immune system, going outside during this pandemic is not an option. Grocery and meal delivery apps are a great answer for some, but the high fee per delivery can make this an unaffordable solution. Physical disabilities also make it difficult to get meals and groceries, with excessive lines and the added vulnerability of taking public transportation to get there. This meal program is blessing the St. James Town community by delivering free meals to these individual’s homes.
What prompted you to volunteer to assist with this program?
We are in a challenging time and we are all figuring out what it means to love our neighbours well during this time. For some neighbours, loving them means staying away while for others, it means finding a way to safely connected and provide support where there are gaps. I volunteered because I wanted to help.