As the novel coronavirus pandemic forces Canadians to physically distance themselves from each other for the health and safety of everyone, people in the London, Ont., region are finding unique ways to come together while respecting social distancing guidelines.
Several community members have come together for the London, Ont., version of a “caremongering” group, which boasts over 2,800 members as of March 26.
The groups have taken off online in several cities across Canada in response to COVID-19.
Moderator Storm French says Caremongering London aims to facilitate the sharing of community resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the group, there are public posts that show people asking for help navigating new government benefits, highlighting local businesses that offer delivery, and more.
They also offer a confidential “mutual aid form.”
“How that works is people will fill out their needs and/or their ability to aid others and our volunteers will connect the two people,” French explained.
“All the information that’s listed out — the names, contact, needs — is all confidential.”
On April 8, the agricultural community in Elgin County came together to drive past the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital in a show of support for health-care workers.
On March 30, the City of London shared some of the pictures and messages local children created for residents of Dearness Home as part of the Smiling Seniors project.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London took to social media on March 25 to showcase how loved ones of George Wogan, a resident of their veterans care program at Parkwood Institute, are showing their love from afar.
On March 28, the Big Bike Giveaway announced that it was partnering with Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op “to give out free bicycles to low-income essential workers.”
The Granton Fire Department, north of London, Ont., announced on March 18 it would be offering free grocery and pharmacy pickup for anyone considered “high risk” of COVID-19.
Biddulph-Blanshard (Granton) Fire Department chief Steve Toews confirmed to Global News that requests would be forwarded to Patty Brine who is coordinating the effort.
Businesses are doing their part to show community spirit, with the Hampton Inn by Hilton London offering toilet paper delivery to those in need while supplies lasted over the weekend of March 21 and 22.
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London restaurant Dos Tacos began appealing to the public on March 24 for donations to help pay for meals for front-line workers. The restaurant says it was “blown away” by the response and had already delivered about 100 meals by March 31, including 40 meals delivered to ICU nurses and doctors.
At least 190 more meals are scheduled for delivery between April 3 and 10.
On April 4, The Italian House on Dundas Street near First Street shared that it was distributing 50 pasta dinners to those in need.
People are finding creative ways to mark life’s milestones, with Lilly Matthews’ family organizing a “birthday parade” outside their east London home. Matthews turned 10 years old on March 29.
Area residents are also adding some extra cheer to their households to bring a smile to passersby, including Bereaved Families of Ontario director Bronagh Morgan who began taking requests for chalk art.
Young Brooklyn and Brynnlee Franklin in east London helped decorate their driveway.
Easton Lafleur, 4, painted his window in Norwich, Ont., while his 18-month-old sister, Esmé, looked on.
Corban, Deacon, Caleb and Reed Hoffmann in northwest London are seen below as they wish everyone a great day.
Lily Chesterfield, 3, in the Oakridge neighbourhood helped to attach toilet paper to community mailboxes to help those in need.
A house, also in Oakridge, was spotted with a “joke of the day” window-theme.
London Live with Mike Stubbs on Global News Radio 980 CFPL has also tried to spread some cheer, with fan favourite caller Marilyn Dale and host Mike Stubbs having an impromptu duet on air on Friday.
The photo below was taken in 2019.