Joni Oldholff and her son Sam are grateful for the support of their community as they self-isolate in their Esquimalt home. (Courtesy of Joni Oldhoff) Joni Oldholff and her son Sam are grateful for the support of their community as they self-isolate in their Esquimalt home. (Courtesy of Joni Oldhoff)

Greater Victoria residents find compassion and community amid COVID-19 isolation

People are helping one another during coronavirus pandemic

Victoria residents are finding new ways to build community amid social distancing and isolation protocols implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Tuesday, B.C. has reached 186 cases of the global coronavirus, including seven deaths. Around the province and country, community centres, restaurants, businesses and schools are partially or fully closed as the public heeds government recommendations to eliminate gatherings and self-isolate.

And while many Victorians are working from home and choosing to stay away from public spaces, a new type of community is forming in the face of global uncertainty. A Facebook group called COVID-19 Coming Together has nearly 5,500 members and includes dozens of requests and offers for help – everything from a coffee maker, diaper cream and financial advice to vet bills, grocery deliveries and virtual guided meditations.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: What’s open and closed in B.C. as a result of the novel coronavirus

Joni Oldhoff is in self-isolation with her four-year-old son, who has respiratory issues that could increase his risk of serious illness. After her coffee maker broke, Oldhoff posted to see if anyone had an extra, joking that it would be difficult to get through isolation without it.

She can’t believe how many people reached out, not just to offer coffee, but all sorts of help.

“I’ve had offers for coffee makers and espresso machines,” she said. “There are so many offers, it’s been so, so heartwarming to witness.”

A neighbour dropped off gardening supplies so she and her son could do some gardening on the balcony, and a French press is being dropped off at her Esquimalt home this week.

“It’s scary but at the same time, I am feeling really positive,” Oldhoff said. “I feel like a lot of this is giving everyone an opportunity to stop and slow down in their lives and focus on what matters. It’s really showing us the strength of community.”

Helen McCall, who owns a Victoria-based commercial cleaning business, said community is everything, especially in times of crisis.

She doesn’t have endless supplies, but McCall is bringing hospital-grade disinfectant concentrate to the most vulnerable members of the community.

“Some of the people who need it the most can’t get here,” she said. “The people who need it the most are the people who are self-isolating. As of now, I’m perfectly healthy, I have a car and I’m happy to help.”

READ ALSO: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19

Camosun College student Raven Fawkes has been using her time away from school (Camosun moved to online courses last week) to help fill a need for clothing donations.

After seeing that Our Place Society had a critical need for clothing donations, Fawkes started collecting, but once the pandemic became more critical, she decided to post in the COVID-19 Facebook group too.

On Monday night, Fawkes and her partner picked up clothing from 17 households, and they plan to do another round next week.

“I’ve got a little more space in my life to help out right now,” she said. “And maybe there’s a little bit of momentum with this, where the community is realizing that we really need to reach out and connect and I think it’s a good time to use that momentum.”

Victoria meditation teacher Morgana Braveraven was surprised by the response she received when she asked if anyone was interested in free, virtual guided meditation.

“COVID-19 has caused us all a lot of fear and anxiety,” she said in a Facebook message. “We have never experienced such a thing as this and we need tools to get through this crisis as healthy and calm as we can.

“We are not alone in this crisis – we are in it as a community, and as a community member who has a skill and tool that can help, I am happy to offer it to whom so ever may need it.”

Braveraven’s online classes can be accessed through her studio’s Facebook page Laughing Buddha Studio.

READ ALSO: Border closures, mandatory screening up for discussion amid COVID-19, Trudeau says



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police arrest suspect in arson spree near Camosun College Lansdowne campus

Calgary man in police custody waiting for a tele-bail hearing, constable says

VIDEO: Man breaks up Saanich road rage fight

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road

Saanich Peninsula Hospital to host new COVID-19 testing facilities

It is not clear yet when they will go into action

Three impaired drivers stopped in Saanich over one weekend

Drivers receive 90-day driving prohibition, month-long vehicle impound

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read