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)

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

Oak Bay police are searching for two men caught on camera dumping garbage bags on the side of Brighton Avenue on Nov. 26. (Ray Bernoties/Twitter)
Police seek two men caught dumping bags of trash on Oak Bay street

Garbage left on side of Brighton Avenue could lead to $81 ticket

Victoria police were called to a single-vehicle crash shortly before 3 a.m. Nov. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
Driver dies after fiery early morning crash in Vic West

The driver was the sole occupant of the single-vehicle crash involving a hydro pole

The Beacon Hill summit is a popular stopping point for visitors to the park. The road up to the viewpoint and parking lot will be reopened by the City of Victoria on Nov. 28 to allow for better access for seniors and people with disabilities. (Black Press Media file photo)
Summit access opens in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park

Victoria maintains some road closures in park as part of COVID traffic plan

Sig
Traffic delays expected on Monday from highway construction in Sooke

Single-lane alternating traffic between Otter Road and Caldwell Road

West Shore RCMP saved a Langford man’s life on Nov. 26 after administering several doses of naloxone spray. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media)
West Shore RCMP save man from potentially fatal overdose

Officers administered several doses of naloxone before sending the man to hospital

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Oliver Finlayson, 9, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hydrotherapy is a big help

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read