When Schnael François started as a Youth Facilitator at YOCISO in March 2020, he quickly realized that some clients’ families were at great risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these families already had struggles as newcomers to Canada and were further isolated because of the pandemic.
Schnael soon found out about an opportunity to provide free food and other necessities to them through Operation Ramzieh, a project started by local restauranteur, Abbis Mahmoud.
“By delivering the food and other items to their homes, they also don’t have to rely on their younger family members to do the shopping,” explains Schnael. “We picked up the kits, including pasta, canned goods, granola bars and various fresh fruits and vegetables at Bruyère Continuing Care in the Byward Market.” Bruyère is a partner in Operation Ramzieh.
A few YOCISO volunteers helped him coordinate several morning deliveries. They would call the family first, then drop off the kit on their front porch, ensuring physical distancing.
“Many of these families are struggling, so not having to go grocery shopping can help to alleviate some of their stress,” adds Schnael.
More often than not, the families wave from their windows as a way to say thanks for the delivery. Karmen, a young mother with children in the YOCISO program, sent a short heartfelt video message to show her appreciation.