HOPE worldwide Canada is actively working with HOPE worldwide and our partners in the Caribbean to provide immediate relief for those affected by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on the island nation of St. Vincent. The volcano first erupted on Friday April 9, which covered the island in a layer of ash, and now many people are without power, water and some have been forced to leave their homes. Early reports show that members in our partner church in St. Vincent are physically safe, but there has been significant damage throughout the island.
To increase our impact in the local community and beyond, Winnipeg’s Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada is making a point to partner with local organizations. Thanks to Diane Nickel, a teacher at Leila North Community School and a HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer, we have joined forces with the staff at her school to provide hampers for a Manitobans in need.
For over 25 years, Leila North Community School has been providing hampers for Indigenous children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, some of whom attend school at Leila North. These families have made the difficult decision to leave their homes in northern communities in order to seek ongoing medical care for their children at Health Sciences Centre.
“The division provides a hamper, we top up that hamper with additional staple items and the items Diane collects (from the Winnipeg Chapter volunteers). In addition we provide a hot meal through the work of our staff…The hot meal lets the families know we are thinking of them and miss them” says Melissa Delaronde, Principal of Leila North Community School. The staff also makes an effort to ensure there are fresh fruits and vegetables in each hamper.
“Providing a hamper alleviates the financial burden and the worry of having to go get groceries, especially during this isolation time” says Diane, who works directly with some of these children. “When a student comes to you and says ‘This is the first meal I’ve had in days.’ it touches your heart… If I can ease some of that burden for just one kid, one family, I know that child will forever be grateful.”
Over the month of April, Leila North Community School provided 80 hampers for these families, 1/3 of which were donated by HOPE worldwide Canada volunteers.
“Being a volunteer for HOPE worldwide Canada for many years, I knew this was a program they could get behind” says Diane, who has been an active volunteer for 15 years. “I love being a HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer because I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces and just chatting with a child who is not listened to every day. I also think it’s important to give back to the world that God has blessed us with” she adds.
We will continue to work alongside Leila North Community School to provide hampers, and once this pandemic is over, we look forward to seeing how we can help this community in new ways. Thank you to Diane and the staff at Leila North Community School for allowing us to be a part of your vision to bring hope and change lives!