Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

Isolation 4 Love volunteer Victoria Huang shows off some highly-coveted supplies in the backseat of her car on March 14, 2020, in Edmonton.

Megan Albu/The Globe and Mail

Some Canadians are rising to the challenge of a worsening novel coronavirus outbreak, going out of their way to be kind.

Across Canada, regular citizens have been volunteering to help neighbours, run errands and provide food. Social media groups have sprung up on Facebook to connect volunteers with those in need. Inspired by medical students at Western University, peers at a number of universities are preparing to help health workers with child care. And the owner of restaurant chain Paramount Fine Foods has promised to supply a different Toronto-area food bank every day.

Kyle Ashley, who works in advertising in Toronto, posted a sign in the lobby of his downtown building offering to provide whatever assistance he could. He hadn’t been called upon as of Sunday morning, but the tires on his bike were pumped up and he was ready to go anywhere in the city.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s like a war,” he said, referring to the pandemic. “We will have bad actors, but good will come out.”

Isolation 4 Love

Michelle Zhang, who volunteers with an Edmonton group that brings supplies to people in isolation, said it formed to help Chinese-Canadians returning from Asia and facing the prospect of being kept in their homes for two weeks.

Starting with about 20 volunteers, by Sunday they had helped more than 220 house-bound residents by bringing food and staples such as toilet paper. The supplies are left outside for those in quarantine to retrieve, eliminating the risk to volunteers, who are then reimbursed by e-transfer.

“Fourteen days, we know it’s hard,” Ms. Zhang said in a phone interview. “We want to use a positive way to encourage people to [practise] social distancing and slow down the spread. We hope we can be the role model, encourage people from other communities to do the same.”

Their volunteer ranks have swelled to more than 100, including some people who had been helped by the service while completing their quarantine. But not before marking the occasion.

“Once you finish your 14 days, we will celebrate together,” Ms. Zhang said.

The latest on the coronavirus: Trudeau says more screening being put in place; new cases in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world

If you are returning to Canada from anywhere, you need to self-isolate: Here’s how

‘My child’s school has closed. Now what do I do?’ And more coronavirus questions answered by André Picard

CareMongering

On Facebook, pages dedicated to connecting volunteers with those in need have proliferated across the country. One dubbed CareMongeringTO, in Toronto, has a huge number of participants offering their services.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s important during times like this, that we stick together as a community,” Sabrina Manicapelli, who works in the hospitality industry and posted an offer to anyone at higher risk of the coronavirus, said in an e-mail exchange.

“I wanted to give a helping hand to those in my community and this group seemed like one way to start doing that. Everyone knows someone on Facebook.”

On Sunday the site had a lot more people offering services than asking for them, but some of the requests that were there offered touching windows into life in quarantine.

“My six-year-old sister, as one would expect, is having a difficult time understanding the reason behind the quarantines and social distancing and is getting awfully bored at home,” wrote one person. “I was wondering if anyone has any craft supplies sitting at home collecting dust that they would be willing to donate.”

Students giving back

Yashoda Valliere, a medical student at Western University, was with her classmates Saturday, kicking around ideas about how they could help during the outbreak. They decided the best way was to take some of the load off local medical workers dealing with the pandemic, helping them with child care or other needs during March break.

The details of the program are still being worked out and the students stress that their priority is safety, saying that they are seeking guidance from public health experts on how best to proceed in an evolving situation.

Story continues below advertisement

Word has got around, though, and by Sunday afternoon they had 14 people looking for help, and about 70 students ready to assist. The idea has also started to go national, through the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, as people at other universities begin to set up similar efforts.

“As medical students, one of the skills we’re taught … is not only the science and the medications but also how to be leaders and how to be a resource to our community,” Ms. Valliere said. “For everyone in the community there are opportunities for us to help each other. You know, social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.”

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters. Sign up

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies