Have courage, and be kind~ Brittany Candau, Have Courage, Be Kind: The Tale of Cinderella
The holidays are my absolute favourite time of year, not my favourite weather, but my favourite time in the sense of all that it represents – love, family, kindness, food, laughter….
With all the craziness and chaos that 2020 has brought, especially with the rising number of cases over the last while, it’s safe to say that things will be different this year, very different. Usually by now, I’m in Montreal, visiting my 98-year old grandma with my cousins and of us packed into my Goo-Jeh’s home in Mont Royale. I love it. The atmosphere, the noise, the smell of home cooking, the kids playing…it’s the perfect soundscape.
I am incredibly grateful for technology as at least we can use video platforms to see our friends and family, but as we all know, it’s not the same. Better than not being able to see them at all, but not the same. This got me thinking…what about those who live in Long-Term Care homes? During the first wave of lockdown, many residents of LTC homes were not able to see their families except through windows and phone calls and now with the second wave, it will most likely be the same. In person family visits will be limited or restricted. Although I know that the staff of the LTC homes will do everything that they possibly can for their residents, but I really felt the need to do something to share some joy and hope.
This lead to the birth of the idea…Embrace a Senior. A $5 bundle where contributors can purchase a bundle or two for someone living in a LTC home all beautifully packaged and for a personal touch, a hand written card or artwork from children in our community.
First step was to pitch it to my amazing team of Avon Sisters so that we could trouble shoot and comb through the idea. Brainstorming is one of my favourite ways to work our business. We share ideas and build upon together as it’s such a supportive and positive environment.
Second step reach out to our desired organization to ensure that they are able to receive non-essential packages and donations.
Third step is to fundraise, collect cards/art, package and finally, deliver.
The organization that I chose was Willows Estate in Aurora. They are a Long-Term Care facility that, at the time of initial contact, was home for 80 residents with a total of 84 beds available. I was directed to Teddy, their Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator who was beyond excited to receive these care bundles for their residents. We went through the protocol for Covid, what each bundle would include and how Jenevera and I would package each one. We finished the call and I was washed over with an incredible feeling of joy and excitement.
My fundraising efforts was a little slow to start as many of my business contacts were hit really hard due of the pandemic. I reached out to my family and my mom was the first to answer and contribute (Thanks mommy!) After that, the contributions came in steadily.
The artwork and cards were my absolute favourite part of this entire campaign (See them in my vlog). I reached out to Jenevera’s teacher from last year who still teaches in-class kindergarten plus Jenevera’s online teacher for grade one. I also reached out to my friends with younger children and posted publicly on different social platforms such as facebook, instagram and Next Door. I was so touched by how many strangers who do not know me offered to help out and contribute in any way.
The offers for support was inspirational! One of my old dance students, Cherry opened up a music school, and her students and parents contributed to 14 bundles plus numerous cards and 3 beautiful paintings!
In total, it took Jenevera and I two days to sort, package and decorate each care bundle. It could have been finished in one day, but because she’s only six and so it was important for her to enjoy the process and not feel overwhelmed with the entire task all at once. Another reason was that I ran out of bows and needed Nelson to run out to grab another bag at our local store. On Day two Nathaniel also provided the entertainment and a running commentary while we added the final touches to the packages so it really was a fun family event!
Delivery Day was on the December 17th and my car was packed full to the brim with packages. I had my regular deliveries and for the seniors, there were five cases of bundles, one bag of additional artwork that I couldn’t fit into the packages, three beautiful paintings and a bag of samples and candy canes for the workers.
Thank you once again to everyone who supported this giving back project. We could not have made this happen if it wasn’t for everyone who shared my posts, donated financially, their artwork, time, and words of encouragement. Jenevera and I were able to reach our goal of 84 bundles but as a team, my Avon family and I were able to touch the lives of 856 individuals all over Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Some of our team members chose organizations close to their heart such as homeless shelters and food banks. Whichever home or organization chosen, I’m sure that these little gifts of joy and hope will brighten the holidays for some of our most vulnerable community members.
If you would like to learn more about how you can use your business as a platform to give back to the community, reach out to me on any of my socials and I would love to brainstorm together!
From my family to yours, may this holiday season be filled with love, laughter and health whether it be in person, or from a virtual space.
xo’s ~ The Dancing Avon Lady