A Letter Sent to Premier Ford of Our Volunteer Efforts

Dear Hon. Ford,

Thank you for uniting the community to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw you sent out a letter to ask for the information of those organizations that have made contributions and support to the community during the outbreak. After consulting with our members, we would like to share the work of our “Good Neighbor Chinese Sewing Volunteer Group” with you.

In Feb 2020 at a time when there were only sporadic cases of COVID-19 in Canada, a few friends of us started a Good Neighbour Support Group with GTA Chinese community volunteers to support traveler's self-isolation with volunteers, provide daily literature/medical news broadcast inside and outside our group with Dr. Stan Zheng, a family physician, and support those who were confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 to stay at home.

Good Neighbour Chinese Sewing Volunteer Group, as a sub-group of the “Good Neigbour Support Group”, was initially formed on April 10 in response to the request from a few front line workers that were looking for scrub caps for protection from the virus. Scrub caps and bags were not part of the traditional PPE in the hospitals or nursing homes, but would make the disinfection much easier after health care workers finish their work. Later it became a wider initiative across Ontario.

Between April 10 and June 30, about 135 Chinese Canadian volunteers joined our group.  Without any financial donation, we worked together as a team to find fabrics, threads, buttons, sewing machines and other materials to sew fabric scrub caps, bags and ear savers for the front line health care workers in need. We had volunteers look after the “Sew Product Request Form”, assign the tasks to volunteers for making the products, and then notify the nurses to pick up from the volunteers or deliver the products. It was so heartwarming to learn that not just our individual volunteers themselves but also their family members were involved. We saw volunteers from 9 years old to 80 years old working together at their homes by sharing the works of cutting, sewing, washing, packaging, or writing notes to the nurses.

Our volunteers were later grouped into five local groups based on their residential regions (namely Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Mississauga, Hamilton, and NewMarket/Aurora/Keswick), so we could serve the local health care workers more conveniently and effectively. In total, we received 207 individual nurse requests from more than 80 different healthcare organizations throughout GTA (see appendix A for the list of unique organizations). All together we delivered 3,320 scrub caps, about 300 scrub bags, and some ear savers to the front line nurses/doctors. The feedback from them were very positive and encouraging. We were all very excited because we were able to help support the healthcare workers during this difficult time.  Eventually healthcare workers were able to have adequate PPE supplies from other sources, and many of our volunteers were getting back to work, we officially closed our project as of June 30, 2020.

We felt it was such a privilege and pleasure that we could help. We know there are other volunteer groups who have done wonderful jobs to support the front line workers and our community. We felt so grateful for our volunteers and would like to share what they had done with you. All of the volunteers were amazing, and they all deserve some kind of recognition. In writing this letter, we as the initiators/organizers felt we could not represent all of them. Therefore we asked our volunteers to provide their contact information and messages so we can include such information in this letter. As some volunteers want to stay anonymous, the list in appendix A only includes who are willing to provide their consent.

We hope Ontarians would find effective ways to overcome the crisis and wish our lives can get back to normal soon. We greatly appreciate your efforts of acknowledgement.

Sincerely yours,

XXX
Initiators/Organizers

Local Group Coordinators:
XXX

Good Neighbor Chinese Sewing Volunteering Group

Encl.
Appendix A: List of some Volunteers (31/135)
Appendix B – List of Eighty-One (81) HealthCare Organizations that Received our Support 


Quotes from some of our volunteers: 

My left leg was injured in early April. I had to visit Southlake Hospital every week and saw how much they had to endure as front line workers. I am willing to use my good leg to make my small contribution. To be able to make caps for them made me very happy. I appreciate the opportunity to do something for my community. Each of our team member opportunity to some meaningful work for the community. My team members were all very friendly and I enjoyed this experience. – LPS

It is a tough time for everyone, especially for those front line hero's. As part of this collaborative community and great nation, we need to stand up and make positive effort at our best manner. Also as a member of the Chinese community, I truly believe in love and peace could make all of us tie together and support each other for creating a better Canada! – Melody Z.

I am grateful to be part of this volunteer initiative. I am motivated by other group members with their enthusiasm in contributing and helping. I am also very impressed by the efficiency and effectiveness of this organization. It is well organized and coordinated so we can all contribute our individual efforts effectively, a great team effort! – Xiaole H.

It’s my pleasure to be one of the good neighbors for the frontline workers during pandemic. God bless Canada. – YYX

I appreciated the health care worker that they put our health first and their health second. I really tried to do my part to support them. They were the best! - ZYC









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