When People are Down

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by Jim Bertram

As a new year dawns, we are all aware of the various unpleasant aspects of the year just past. In addition to the various challenges we perceive, and must face up to on a regular basis, has been added the additional scourge of a very serious pandemic. One just never really knows all that life has in store for us, either as individuals or as a group or society.

Individuals are always confronted with organizing their lives as a consequence of the challenges which present themselves. Normally, these are interspersed with better times, and life can be very agreeable. In times such as these though, Covid-19 and all that it entails as an influence on our lives bends that alternating curve of life experience decidedly downwards. Illness, danger, worry, and economic pressures are some of the factors which we must face to a heightened degree on the personal level. To say nothing of separation from loved ones; from friends; from preferred activities.

We all share in the difficulties which afflict our country and our community right now. I hope most of my fellow residents of North Grenville are successfully coping in what seems to be a war of sorts. As we are all aware, medical workers and other emergency response personnel are literally putting their lives on the line on a daily basis to fend off Covid-19 and save as many lives as they can. And individual citizens are trying to comply with temporary limits on their activities in a group effort to work together to beat this awful scourge. Well done!

Yet, while we all share in the negative features imposed by Covid-19 and its ill effects, and join our neighbours in the common fight, are there other, further measures which we might take as individuals? Imagine a situation in which, owing to the complex of problems which Covid imposes, some of our fellow-residents of North Grenville were running short of food. Not because it’s not available in stores. It obviously is. But, rather, because their financial resources do not allow for them to nourish themselves and their families as well as they should, because of the financial challenges of the effects of Covid. This is a real problem, which has apparently grown more serious in the last nine months. It’s a devastating problem which, for too many of our people, comes on top of all of the other challenges imposed by Covid.

At the same time, though, there are solutions. Solutions which lie within our individual power to effect. At least one of those lies directly within our hands, if we choose to act. That act is the contribution of food to the local food bank. My approach is to make regular donations to the local food bank through the Salvation Army. The local Knights of Columbus, and some other organisations also, participate in supplying food banks. While there may be other food drop-off points, a very convenient Salvation Army drop-off is to be found at the front of the B&H grocery store on Rideau Street.

The collective effect of our community’s generosity was very apparent over the Christmas and New Year period, at which time the B&H drop-off box was filled to overflowing. Further contributions had to be placed in cardboard boxes beside the overfilled main drop-off container. Super! I hope that other centres were also generously laden, over-laden even. What I hope will happen is that, during this period of extreme difficulty, we will continue to take a moment on a regular basis and spend a little extra to help someone else out in such an important way. For some of us at least, it’s a relatively easy thing to do. Let’s relieve some of the painful effects of Covid in this way. Thank you in advance for reflecting on this. And all the best to you all as the year evolves.

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