photos show the youth making goodies for the Food ministry we are providing at the Church of the Holy Trinity with Toronto Urban Native Ministry.
In a chat with one of our TSP Communications Group, I was asked to share a brief note about one of my recent activities supporting the FCJ Refugee Center. As some of you may know, I have been helping out over the past 4 years in different capacities at this nearby immigrant center that specializes in assisting the undocumented not only with legal process advice but also by maintaining a supportive peer community for immigrant families and youth with popular events and providing some of them with Second Harvest food distribution. [On Thursday afternoons I am delivering food hampers to 14 families in the York University/Keele/Jane area
Three weeks ago Francisco Rico (one of the co-directors of FCJ) asked me if I could fabricate ten plexiglass frames to protect the FCJ staff from direct breathing contact with their clients once they resume their in-office interviews [now carried out by phone or Zoom]. “Why not?” I replied innocently.
And with that I began the search for both the 2″ x 2″ pine needed for the frames and the increasingly rare sheets of 2′ x 4′ plexiglass. Both Home Depot and Loews were already cleaned out; nearby New Canadians turned out to be my only supplier (their last sheets!). Then with the occasional help of my 16 year old Spanish immigrant “little brother” Carlos, we cleared out my garage and started to turn out the ten protectors, each custom-built for different configurations of the staff desks. [[Unfortunately too busy to take pictures of that process]
The photos below capture the final stage of delivery to FCJ:
Keeping busy is definitely an antidote to the roller coaster of feelings, not knowing what will happen in the future, worrying about our loved ones and deep sadness for the suffering of so many people.
My greatest joy has been homeschooling my two grandchildren, Meave(8) and Tate(6). I was allowed into my daughter Naomi’s “bubble” as they are busy trying to do demanding jobs and look after the kids. Every weekday morning for the past 9 weeks I have shown up from 9 to 12 to be teacher Gramma. I love it! It makes me keep a routine and keeps my mind busy. As a retired elementary teacher I’m used to planning and figuring out interesting ways to manage and teach children. Most exciting for me is that both children are really progressing with their reading, having instruction everyday.
I have a delightful Aunt who turned 90 last September and is still independent. I seem to keep missing church as every Sunday I prepare her a meal and deliver it, staying outside for a socially distant visit.
I keep my eye for other ways to help. Thanks to the great generosity of TSP members we were able to deliver 30 self care packages to Na-Me-Res for the men in the residence as well as the folks that they serve on the street.
I have amazing neighbours who are out there helping so many. Loli Rico and Francisco Rico-Martinez run the FCJ Refugee Centre and they live around the corner. They have been delivering food and visiting families. Maeve, Tate and I have prepared art kits for the children in these families.
My neighbour Barb works at The519 on Church Street and she mentioned that while serving meals to over a hundred each day they give out self care items and were in short supply for razors so I put that on my weekly grocery list.
The old sugar crystal experiment was a big hit!
For a few short weeks in late March, life seemed stilled, quiet, formless. What would I do? Soon, most of my ongoing groups, boards and organizations found me through Zoom and my friends and relatives ramped up connections via email and phone calls. That was all well and good but, I felt something was missing.
Just when I needed it, I noticed an online art class available through the Neilson Park Art Centre. It was focused on Impressionism for acrylic painters. I jumped at the offer and proceeded with instruction and experimentation for the next 8 weeks every Tuesday morning.
Although this online zoom version of an art class was not ideal, it did get me out of my chair, out of the news, and out of my rational self for about 8 hrs a week in total. There is nothing like colours on fresh paper or canvas to excite me, and nothing like acrylics to give me a second (or third!) chance to get that shape I’m trying for.
Here are two of the art projects I completed.
Please click the link for a walk(video) outside TSP building with Lois Kunkel.