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Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

May 10, 2022

Written by
Debra McGonegal, Fund and Volunteer Development Manager

Written by
Debra McGonegal, Fund and Volunteer Development Manager

​At Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC), front line workers continue to provide for the most vulnerable in our community, while still adhering to Public Health Covid-19 regulations. The Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and Primary Health care programs continue to operate serving our community’s most vulnerable. All of these workers are heroes for keeping the community healthy despite their own fears and anxieties.

One group of SCHC heroes provides care to isolated seniors in two Toronto Community Housing buildings in Scarborough. The Assisted Living Team aren’t donning capes during this health crisis, but gloves and masks to make sure those seniors continue to get the services they need. Whether that be cooking a meal, disinfecting their homes, ensuring they have their medications or simply being that friendly face and voice to reassure them they are not alone. “This is such a dedicated group of personal support workers.  They all understand how their role is even more critical during this time.  Despite this challenging environment and additional responsibility because of Covid-19, most of them couldn’t imagine not continue to provide care”, states Christine Hewitt, Manager of Community Supports.

​When the pandemic was declared, a group of very concerned seniors at Scarborough Retirement Residence (SSR) wanted to help. They wanted to keep themselves busy while showing others less fortunate that they cared and were thinking of them.  Together with the recreation staff and their leadership, they all agreed on creating the Love-in-a-Box initiative.  They based it upon one of the projects in their Enhanced Life Enrichment program called Joy-in-a-Box, where residents created and provided a care package to quarantined seniors returning to their home from the hospital. 

Marie-Josee Lafountain, Principal and Acting Executive Director of SSR commented that, “Love-in-a-Box gave the residents a great sense of purpose. They all joined in on fundraising, purchasing of items like puzzles, games, food, personal products and carefully putting together their box of love. They donned masks and gloves and observed physical distancing to ensure their safety and the health of the recipients.  They loved doing this!”

​Greg Kerr from Koch Management Group had been renovating SRR until the pandemic hit and they had to halt construction. Because of Kochs’ work in health care communities they understood the importance of how healthy mind, healthy spirits and healthy bodies work together.  When he heard of the Love-in-a-Box project, they happily agreed to help deliver the completed boxes to the SCHC staff on site at 4175 and 4205 Lawrence Ave E.  “SRR, led by Josee, is a retirement home chock full of caring and compassionate people so we were honoured to play a small part in extending their hearts to those in need”.

Partnerships in projects like this demonstrate the power of community coming together.  Josee commented, “I hope that organizations and people who have broken out of their silos in order to help during this health crisis continue with their good work once the pandemic is declared over.  We’re all so much more effective when we work together”.

​Certainly, Love-in-a-Box demonstrated that not all superheroes wear capes.  From the SRR team of residents, the delivery team from Koch Management, to the caregiving team and Assisted Living staff of SCHC, the health crisis is bringing more awareness to the super powers of people who care for their community.