With some timely help from neighbours in Nanoose Bay and the resourceful employment of her own skills, a single mother of two has been able to successfully overcome adversity and get her family back on its feet. She attributes her current independence and much improved situation to the assistance she received during her lowest points over the past several years from the volunteers of Nanoose Community Services (NCS).
“That help was so very much appreciated”, she says, explaining that due to a marriage break-up and fire loss of the family home she and her two children ended up without a permanent residence.
The young mom stayed with friends for a few days, but when Ginny Brucker heard about her plight from a school employee she few into action contacting the Lion’s Club for some funding assistance and a real estate agent to help the family find a new home.
“It was all a blur at the time”, she says, adding that she feels fortunate that things have turned around since then and she is able to manage her family’s needs on her own.
“I am extremely grateful for the kind help and support I received, first from Ginny then from other NCS volunteers over the past six years”, she said. She still keeps in touch with the NCS founder.
“NCS was there for me and my kids. The generous people who gave of their time and resources through the Christmas Elf campaign made a Christmas for my kids that I could not have done”.
When her car radiator broke down and when she was in desperate need of new glasses NCS volunteers, in collaboration with local businesses, found ways to provide the help she needed. She confided that, on occasion, she has had to access the food program services in order to ensure her family ate nutritiously. She commended the food program policy shift to providing food cards instead of food products offered by donors.
“At one point we were truly malnourished”, she explained. “I couldn’t provide the fresh produce and balanced meals my family needed”. She was happy to see the change to the food card system, allowing clients of the food program to choose the foods they need. These days, her children are doing better in school and she has the energy to manage on her own.
By relying on her skills, being resourceful and exchanging favours with her neighbours and friends, the young mom manages to make ends meet and provide for her family. She turned her small rented apartment into three bedrooms by re-engineering the kitchen and adding a divider to the one bedroom. She plans to start a garden so she can produce her own fresh produce for meals. She does light housework and sewing to earn a bit of money, and is planning to go back to school in the fall.
“I wanted to make sure that I would be here for my kids when they came home from school, but now that they are getting older, I feel I can begin to focus on getting a real full-time job”. At the end of her training at VIU she will become a registered care aid.
She has always told her kids to be kind to neighbours and help out whenever they can. “I tell them that you never know if that person is the one who gave you that gift or helped you out at one time”, she says.
The small family is active, participating in sports and hiking around the island. They still like to attend the occasional community supper at St. Mary’s Church. “The kids really tuck into those home baked goodies”, she laughs.
She wants her neighbours in Nanoose Bay to know that they made a difference in her family’s lives. “With the Christmas program, food program, emergency help and the St. Mary’s monthly dinners, the people of Nanoose Bay and the NCS have helped me more than I can measure, making life better for me, my family and many others in our neighbourhood. I am looking forward to giving back to someone else in need as soon as I’m able to”.