It was a simple idea and it was easy to get it off the ground but the result has been a powerful force that helps out people in need.
It’s call Caremongering – Campbell River and it connects people who are in need of some of the basic necessities of life with people who are willing to provide them. It couldn’t be simpler, says the group’s founder Tara Jordan.
“Every single day, somebody is being helped in our community because people want to help,” Jordan says.
Not everybody is born on an equal playing field, she says, and so there are families without vehicles and families that are struggling financially and families having a hard time making ends meet. But there are other people who have more than enough resources, so why not get them together, Jordan asks.
“Let’s connect those dots,” she says.
The group was formed to help people deal with the COVID-19 pandemic just over a year ago. That was when someone introduced Jordan to the Caremongering movement.
A born-and-raised Campbell Riverite whose family was always involved in community service and having worked in the social service sector herself for nearly 20 years, Jordan was acutely aware of how many people were in dire straits at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also well known in community service circles and so was being contacted by dozens of people saying they would like to help people in need. Around that time a friend of hers told her about the Caremongering movement happening in other places in Canada. She was told to “Google it” and did.
“Here I was in the middle of all these people that were trying to help and needing the help and so, simultaneously, the Caremongering Google search happened and I learned about the grassroots initiative of people helping people in need,” Jordan says.
At the beginning of the pandemic, people were being told not to take children into grocery stores. But what do you do if you are a single parent and you can’t afford childcare but you can’t go into a grocery store, nor can you afford the additional delivery costs? So, she thought about it for a day and asked some people if they wanted to be involved but who politely declined.
“And so, I did it,” she said.
It wasn’t long before she got some help, though.
A similar group had just started on Quadra Island and so she basically followed what they did in order to get the Campbell River group off the ground.
It’s largely the same concept being done across the country. The groups are organized around social media sites which is the central medium that connects those in need with those who can help. The idea caught on like wildfire. Within a month Caremongering – Campbell River had 100 members. Now they’re up to 1,600 members with 35 screened volunteers. They’ve collected over $12,000 in donations over the past year plus unknown amounts of donations in-kind and in the form of merchandise.
Unfortunately, it was a tragic event that happened around the same time that really kickstarted the group. The April 8, 2020 apartment building fire on Ninth Avenue displaced a number of families in an instant. All of a sudden, Jordan had requests for help but she was able to post on the Caremongering Facebook page that there were people in need.
She recalls one of the first calls for help was someone who needed diapers and so she posted the request.
Somebody had the diapers needed and dropped them off to the Coast Discovery Inn where a lot of displaced residents were being housed temporarily.
“So, it was amazing,” Jordan says. “A lot of avenues for help involve red tape and applications and wait times but with Caremongering, we’re able to, as a grassroots group, just go straight to those who need with what they need.
“And so it’s just been amazing to watch. It’s been amazing to be a part of and I just feel really grateful to see what Campbell River was able to do when we come together.”
It’s a powerful and emotional thing to be involved in.
“It can’t even be be expressed in words how much it matters to people when they need it most,” Jordan says. “They just feel so supported and so hopeful that they’re not alone in this crisis.
“I’ve been doing this for a year but I still feel moved to tears all the time.”
The group is looking for volunteers – they have a particular need for people “with strong backs and a big smile” who also own a truck – as well as donations. Volunteers often handle money or visit people in their home so they all have to be screened through criminal record checks. Volunteer Campbell River helps the group with that.
People who are in need of something are urged to go to the Facebook group or contact Caremongering to be connected to whatever they are in need of.
To volunteer or if you need help, go to Caremongering – Campbell River on Facebook or text 250-202-7446 to start the process.
“The last thing I say is thank-you, thank-you, thank-you to every single volunteer person who stepped up to contribute to the group in the past year. Their contribution is what’s making this group all that it is.”