Caring community is such a blessing

Man wearing "love your neighbour" hat

Once again I am reminded of how blessed I am to be living and working in such a great community and how important a sense of community is.

Earlier on this year, an event unfolded outside of my daughter’s school in Thornhill. My husband had parked his car in front of the school and gone inside to greet her. While he was gone, a fellow parent backed up into his car, causing thousands of dollars of damage, got out of the car to see the extent of it, and then drove away. When my husband and daughter arrived at the car, they were shocked to see what had happened. Fortunately, two grade seven students had witnessed the event, seen the driver and the car, and were able to share their observations with my husband.

Unfortunately, the description matched many other cars and people and so, not being able to find the driver or car, we incurred the deductible expense. In the meantime, having heard about the incident, many parents and students at the school began looking out for the make and colour of car that had been described by the two grade seven students. Almost every day we received another tip that we pursued. We were overwhelmed by the support of the school community.

After a few weeks had passed, we asked the Principal for permission to post a request for additional help flyer on the school door. That same day, a Purolator delivery man read it. Then, while en route to another delivery, he noticed a car that matched the description and emailed us with the license plate. Coincidentally, one of the grade seven girls noticed the same car outside the school later on and called us with the same license plate. We called the police, they investigated and the owner admitted to the hit and run.

I am still in awe that our community banded together for weeks to help us work towards a just resolution.

More recently, I had the same sense of awe when, after writing my column on my mother’s final week of life at Hill House Hospice, I received an overwhelming response from readers in our community.

One of the first and most touching of all was an anonymous letter that was placed in my mailbox. The front of the envelope read “A gift for you” and attached to it was a small packet of delicious chocolates and a small silk bouquet of purple flowers – my favourite colour. Inside was a hand written note. The writer shared that she was “so sad” when she read my story and suggested that I must be “very brave and strong.” She concluded by saying that “the world needs more people like you” and signed it “love, a girl who cares.” I was so touched that this “girl” had taken the time to write to me. Taken the time to include the chocolates as a way of helping “just a little.” Thank you, a girl who cares, for your powerful words. I appreciate them so much. They made my day.

One of the other cards sent to me was from a Richmond Hill resident who reminded me that my mother was a volunteer helper with her daughter’s therapy for several years, after she had put out a request for help in the Liberal newspaper in 1995. She said that my article had brought tears to her eyes as she remembered my mother as a giver. Thanks Janet for reaching out too. Your card means so much.

When Lindy Genno of Richmond Hill read my column, she immediately sent me an email. She shared her story about her mom, known to most as Muzzy, who passed away in March of this year, after spending her last fifteen days at Hill House Hospice. Lindy shared that she was in the process of putting together a fund raiser, with proceeds going towards the Hospice. Hill House relies on donations to continue to provide the incredible care and support towards patients and their families.

Lindy and I met to share our very similar stories and to talk more about ways in which we could give back to Hill House Hospice. She, along with her Avon “sisters” are making wonderful gift bundles available for only $10.00 each. They make great office gifts, stocking stuffers or even a gift to one self. They will include a note thanking each person for his or her contribution to Hill House Hospice. To learn more about this, please contact Lindy at or by calling 905-508-9554.

It is such an honour to share my words with you, my readers and neighbours. But I am especially honoured, rewarded and encouraged when I see that we are working together as a community towards helping one another. Together we’re better.