Moms share love for LaFF at Family Day weekend visit
One of the things that makes LaFF (Ladysmith Family and Friends) special is its ability to create a community.
But the pandemic has done its best to isolate people and strain community connections.
With the help of United Way, LaFF has been able to keep their families and their volunteers connected even while self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms.
This was on full display at LaFF’s Grab-and-Go Friday during the Family Day long weekend. Though families can’t go inside Aggie Hall (where LaFF holds its programming) as they normally would, volunteers were able to help make craft kits for kids, co-op students got hands-on learning about LaFF’s impact on community health, and parents and their children stopped by to pick up a gift bag.
Filled with fresh food and cooking instructions, a children’s book, a letter-making kit and more, mom’s who attended the Grab-and-Go event said these gift bags have meant so much to their families over the course of the pandemic.
“The packages really brighten up my life,” says Karlene.
“It just gives us something to do when we get home. Of course I’m trying to get my kids off of screens all the time. So it just really helps giving us an activity to focus on,” she says, adding that connecting with parents online to see how their crafts turned out is one way she’s stayed connected during the pandemic.
“Recently my family was all sick, we all ended up with COVID,” says Janelle. When LaFF found out, they came by to drop off some crafts for her kids. “It just made my three-and-a-half-year-old's week,” says Janelle. “And then the next day I got up and there was a box of food outside the house from them. So I burst into tears, I think I was over-tired,” she says.
“They are just so good for the community.”
United Way is proud to play a part in these connections, having provided a grant that LaFF used to purchase a van, helping them to distribute food and gift bags to their community.
And though these gifts may seem like small gestures, they can have a big impact.
“I don’t know where I would be mentally if they hadn’t been here,” says Anna about LaFF.
“I moved to Ladysmith just over a year ago … and I had some massive post-partum anxiety at the time. And LaFF kind of helped group me together and get me a little bit of socialization at a time that it was a little bit more challenging to get some of that socialization.”
“It was literally mental sanity,” she says. “It’s not even just ‘good for my mental health.’ It was the difference between totally losing it, on the brink of psychosis, versus actually getting to a point where I’m thriving instead of just surviving.”
Creating and maintaining vital connections is core to what United Way British Columbia aims to do in communities. And we’re happy to help LaFF make a difference in Ladysmith.
“The importance of the United Way has been huge,” says Jacqueline, Executive Director of LaFF. “Knowing that there is an organization that has my back and the organization’s back as we continue to move forward and be there for families has been so instrumental, and I can’t thank United Way enough.”