A place to find friendship, a place to find help. What does this look like and why in this order?
Everything that we do at Capital City Mission begins with friendship. The helping comes next. As we get to know our neighbours they become friends, and then slowly we can begin to meet their particular needs.
How we have met needs since the start of COVID-19’s impact on Ottawa has looked very different, depending on the particular needs of our friends.
We continue to meet basic needs each day. Our canteen-style window service allows us to provide a light lunch daily and food hampers as needed. These are so important and we are able to show our love through these acts! But it’s through providing help for particular needs that we can most clearly demonstrate care and love.
Supporting our neighbours has taken many different forms in recent weeks. While everyone in our city and province is encouraged to only go out for essential outings, some people in our community absolutely have to avoid going out. This has meant Facebook chats or even daily phone calls to the drop-in. Friendship in our community has also looked like folks picking up food hampers for their neighbours, who aren’t able to leave home at this time.
For those who are daily dependent on food resources in the community, the need to stay open is essential. We have added hampers to help people who would normally visit somewhere else for their evening meals (all evening meals in our area have been suspended). Help has meant giving extra food to a young couple who recently lost a very close friend, to ease their stress in a very difficult time. It has also meant adding a couple cans of tuna to one young man’s hamper, even though we are trying to save it to make sandwiches for daily distribution, because it’s his favourite food!
Last week helping a friend looked like finding a donor who would be willing to pay for a vet bill, when the person’s regular supports have not been available. This is not the type of help we can offer every day or to every person, but when you have known the man and his dog for close to a decade, this is the type of help you will work to find.
We have also begun making new friends in recent weeks as more and more social spaces have closed within the city. One woman has begun coming to get lunch for herself and her elderly aunt each day. She likes her tea with one sugar and lots of milk, and she is grateful that we remember to give her two lunch bags each day, without her having to explain why she needs both.
This is just a glimpse of how we have been able to demonstrate love and care for our friends in recent weeks. Thank you to all who support us as we seek to be a place to find friendship and a place to find help in these unprecedented times.