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HEFC Heroes for January - Mila and Madden AND the Neighbourhood Resource Team of the Ottawa Police.

Lynn Sherwood

As I write this in mid December, we do not know what the next few weeks will bring. Christmas will be different; we are all staying at home and avoiding the familiar activities that bring joy in this darkest time of the year. At HEFC we are continuing to provide vital food supplies to vulnerable members of our community throughout this pandemic and are busy receiving donations and distributing food. We are always grateful for the support of so many donors and volunteers. Our January Heroes represent two quite different groups of volunteers who have brought their special skills to help us provide food to those who are in a tough situation.

Mila Rousseau aged 8 and her brother Madden Rousseau aged 6, guided by their parents Stacey Lance and Philippe Rousseau have been celebrating Christmas for the past three years by doing a Kindness Collection by collecting food for the food bank and toys for various causes.

Because of the pandemic, they decided this year to focus on collecting only food and have set up a food drive which has resulted in the donation of over 1000 pounds of food to HEFC

This project required a lot of careful organization and the support of their parents and , indeed the entire neighbourhood. One week before their collection date they walked around the neighbourhood, distributing flyers to 175 mailboxes which asked folks to place food donations on their front step and mark it with a bow. On December 5th they returned to collect these donations.


Stacy, their mother, reported; “ People were so generous, I had to empty our SUV three times! After our collection, we placed thank you notes in each mailbox that donated. It is important to us that our children express gratitude. As parents, we also want to thank our community for showing up for our children.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and our village has never let us down!”

Stacey states she feels this annual family tradition is important because “We want to instill a sense of responsibility for others within our children. The truth is, any of us can find ourselves in a situation where we need the support of our community. We want our children to choose kindness and compassion before judgement and ignorance. “

The children appear to be learning this well. Overwhelmed by the generous response from the community, Madden reported “ Mommy my heart is so happy”. Indeed, they have good reason to be proud of their contribution to the community as their efforts have helped so many families facing a tough winter.

Our second group of January Heroes are the folks who packed up and distributed the food collected by Mila and Madden, five police officers from the South End Neighbourhood Resource Team of the Ottawa Police.

This unit, formed about a year ago, as explained by Constable Corey Bourguignon, is a stable unit of police constables responsible for neighbourhood liaison in the south end of Ottawa.

As well as having responsibility for police enforcement they are engaged in community outreach with the intent of building positive relationships within the South Ottawa community. They want residents to know and to trust local police officers.

In this context they are attempting to build partnerships with local community organizations so that they can tell the folks they work with in the community about local supports. When they saw that HEFC was located within the Heron Road Community Centre, they reached out to our Executive Coordinator, asking for information about our program, as well as volunteering to help. So, we had the services of five burly police officers, directed by our regular volunteer, Joanne, to unload and divvy up the thousand pounds of food collected by two young children. What a heartwarming example of our community working together!


As we figure out how to navigate this strange season, we share hope in the knowledge that a vaccine now signals the end of the pandemic, while we also cope with our ongoing vulnerability to disease over the short term. We empower ourselves and others when we share our unique abilities to build a strong community and to take care of each other. We are all reminded, most clearly, that we really do depend on each other through contributions like those of our January Heroes. Thank you all.

Members of the Board of HEFC are happy to share information about the service we, all together, provide for our community. Call us at 613 737-9090 or e-mail us at hefc-info@rogers.com for more information.


Check us out on Twitter HEFC.ca@HeronfoodCentre


Heron Emergency Food Centre is located at 1480 Heron Road and is open 4 days a week to provide emergency food to people in need in Ottawa South.


JANUARY WISH LIST

We welcome cash and food donations including tuna, canned vegetables, canned tomato sauce, canned soup, chickpeas, kidney beans, cereal, and snacks for children.


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