Handld with Care Community initiatives began during difficult times. Toronto was set to enter it’s second lockdown in the Fall of 2020. This was a demoralizing time for all of us. And personally, I took it especially hard. My new business was on the upswing and there was a steady increase in jobs being accepted by clients; I was also learning more and more about what clients want in terms of services, and I especially enjoyed the latter.

Sitting at home alone in my apartment as the sun went down at an unsettling 5:50pm I became more and more frustrated. The ‘woe is me’ attitude rushed into my mind hard and fast. But in a moment of mental clarity, I thought to myself; Cristen, how many people have it much worse than you do? How many people right now wish they had a home, food, and clothing the same way you do? Then the ping of my cell phone alerted me to a text notification, a friend of mine. The thoughts continued again with; how many people wish they had someone to talk to? Some company, someone to have a conversation with.

I started thinking about our seniors. During the pandemic seniors in Long Term Care Homes were isolated from their friends and families. And those are the LTC residents who have families. If I felt like I was in a dark and lonely place; I cannot imagine what it was like for them. Proverbs 11:25 says “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” And this biblical truth was an exclamation point during the time I had the privilege of organizing this initiative with Seven Oaks, Care Free Lodge, and Kipling Acres Long Term Care Homes.

Each video that was sent in by someone who signed up to participate gave me the opportunity to see firsthand the warmth and strength of humanity.

I entered into the beginning of the ‘Christmas video Messages for Seniors’ initiative demoralized. But by the time it was completed I was truly blessed, rejuvenated, and revitalized.

What’s more, I noticed something remarkable in the videos sent in by the younger participants. Many of them performed songs, recited poetry, and shared encouraging and uplifting personal messages with the senior they were matched with. There was a deep sense of a desire to connect with another human in a meaningful way.

The Handld with Care community initiatives have been incredibly effective in serving it’s purpose, which is to help build stronger communities through meaningful connections. Valuable insights and experiences were gained in both the ‘Thanksgiving Meals & Clothing’ and the ‘Christmas video Messages for Seniors’ initiatives.

The team and I will constantly be on the lookout for areas of need where we can help, and we are beyond excited to work with each and every person who signs up to participate.