There has been a lot of news coverage of the flooding in Quebec, including my city, Ile Bizard and Ile Mercier the tiny island that is connected to where I live, which is completely submerged under water. I have also heard complaints of traffic and the inconvenience of so many detours but there hasn’t been much said of the countless volunteers who have devoted time and energy to help those in need. Today I set out to document and celebrate these ordinary heroes of our West Island communities. Without them, the efforts to save the many homes that have been touched or threatened by the flood, would not be possible. So please join me in applauding these selfless souls who have given up their Saturday to help where they can.
This post is about them. The ordinary heroes. The men, women and children who wanted to do whatever was needed to help. It didn’t matter what they did, just that they were doing something. There are good people out there. And today I saw many of them.
First stop, On Rock (a local food bank that feeds over 200 under-privileged families every week) where I found Syl, Kathryn, Sylvie and Nina, preparing chilli for 200 volunteers over on Ile Bizard.
Then onto Ile Bizard…Below is the scene at the intersection of Jacques Bizard and Pierrefonds Boulevard
Arriving at the Public Works, I was blown away by the hub of activity by happy volunteers, too many to count! Volunteers came from many other communities around the West Island, including Beaconsfield and Pointe-Claire, as well as Montreal, Toronto and even Maine! I’m sure there were other communities represented but I didn’t get to speak with everyone there. Local businesses dropped off food, citizens brought muffins and doughnuts and granola bars… Kudos to IGA Ile Bizard for the boxes of fruit, St-Hubert on St. Johns for the chicken meals, to McDonald’s for the donation of coffee, burgers and muffins, the person who dropped off 20 pizzas, and the other ordinary heroes who brought over snacks for the hungry volunteers. And of course On Rock for their delicious chilli. I was overwhelmed by the outpour of love over the city I have lived in for 40 years.
Ile Bizard had a couple of VIP’s with a huge entourage come in for a photo op, causing traffic congestion that made it difficult for trucks to deliver much needed sandbags to citizens in the major flood zones, interrupting the volunteers who were actually there to work, so that they could pose for cameras with a shovel in their hand as if they were there working. I’m pretty sure the volunteers were not very impressed by the antics and were most likely offended by the pretence that was displayed. If they sincerely wanted to help, they would have showed up in jeans and a t-shirt ready to get dirty with the rest of the volunteers. They certainly would have stayed longer than the 10 minutes it took to be captured on camera and shake a few hands. Maybe next time there is a crisis somewhere, they will find it in their hearts to participate beyond the cameras? Lets just hope that their visit will at least shed some light on the severity of the situation and will initiate some extra help in fighting the flood and helping the families who have lost so much, rebuild.
As someone who has lived on Ile Bizard for 40 years, I want to say thank you. Thank you to every single person who took time away from their families, who gave up their Saturday, who sweat for hours bent over with a shovel in their hand, to Westview Bible Church‘s volunteers, to the men and women from Plymouth Brethren church who came in equipped as a RRT (Rapid Response Team) to organize much of the day, to CrossFit Ile Bizard and the Ile Bizard Hockey League members who organized volunteer teams to help, to On Rock for providing a huge amount of food to the volunteers, to the businesses who reached out to provide food and snacks, to the people who lent their boats for transport, to the police officers and firefighters, to the tractor, truck and forklift drivers, to EVERYONE who took part in helping this community, my community since I was 6 years old. You are the ordinary heroes who make this world a better place!
HOW TO HELP
The fight is not over so if you can spare some time, head over to the public works yard beside the Centre Socio Culturel located at 490, montée de l’Église, L’Île-Bizard, H9C 1G9. Volunteers are needed day and night!
People are posting updates of information and needs on Facebook. Here are a few links:
UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON THE FLOOD WATCH:
You can click HERE for a “mise a jour” from the city of Ile Bizard.
Gazette click HERE
For street closures click HERE
Also, On Rock is always looking for volunteers to help out weekly at their facility located at 9554 Gouin West, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y 1R3 (entrance is in back of the strip mall). They especially need volunteers on Mondays and Tuesday to help pack food boxes and deliver them to the families but also could use your help on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to help out at their community diner. For more information on how to help or donate please click HERE.
If you helped out or know someone who did, please mention it in the comments. I would love to thank you personally for your selfless act of kindness.
Feel free to share this with someone who was part of the effort.
AGAIN, THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO HELPED!
There is nothing that is more exciting to a child than a birthday! When you’re old enough to anticipate that special day, you wake up knowing that today is the day and it can’t come quickly enough. The cake, the presents, the friends and family, it’s all so much fun! And it’s all about you!
For parents it’s many hours of preparation, invitations to send out, food to prepare, a cake to bake or order, presents to purchase, clothes to set out and the list goes on. It’s less exciting and more exhausting. But seeing your child so happy makes it all worth it. We push aside the exhaustion and play host/hostess to the guests and make sure the party is a success.
The kids have fun, get to eat junk food, play games and stuff their face with delicious cake. What more can a child ask for?
This mom was grateful to have a photographer to capture her daughter’s special moment. She confessed that they were so preoccupied with putting on the party that they forgot to take photos of their little girl when she turned 2 and again when she turned 3. This year, they were able to host and not worry about missing the photo ops. They will have visual memories of the day all while being able to focus on the birthday girl and guests. I have hosted parties and have been so busy catering to my guests that I have little time to chat with them let alone photograph the event. By the end of the night, I have no idea how my party went. It would be nice to have had someone take some candid shots of the day/evening to have that visual reminder.
Have you ever thought of hiring a photographer to take lifestyle photos of special days? I’m not talking about weddings, Christenings, graduations…, photographers are usually hired to chronicle those big events. What I’m asking is, have you thought about hiring a photographer to photograph your child’s birthday, first sleepover, or even just a Saturday as a family? Lifestyle photos are candid shots of everyday moments. Rather than posed portraits, they are photos of you and your children playing, colouring, sharing a snack together, jumping on beds, having pillow fights. They are photos of a typical day in your life, right now, how it is. Lifestyle photos capture the everyday, exactly as it happens. This is a great way to capture your little ones at any given stage. It’s fun, relaxed and natural.
If you’d like to hear more about a lifestyle session, please click on “book a session” and send me an email, I would love to chat with you about the details.
…be your own kind of beautiful…
OFFER THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ANY OCCASION