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People throughout the community are using the Good Shepherd Marktplace to help them get through COVID-19

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“Another hurdle for our family to get through,”

A refugee family uses the Good Shepherd Marketplace to help them through COVID-19

At the Good Shepherd Marketplace, the message of unity and compassion is on full display. Our staff and volunteers are facing down the threat of COVID-19 in order to help our neighbours who are at risk.

Len is an electrician and entrepreneur from Burlington. His business was affected by the pandemic and he decided to use his free time to volunteer at the Marketplace.

“I have volunteered at the Good Shepherd Christmas Programs before so I decided to reach out and see how I can help during this crisis,” he says.

Len comes in almost every morning to stock the shelves and ensure the Marketplace clients can shop.

“I think that as a society, we’ve been taking advantage of the simple things in life,” says Len. “And this time has made us all aware of how precious those simple things are to every person.”

“We’ve had to be strategic about how we deliver this service,” says Mark. “Our staff and volunteers have been vital in keeping the Marketplace running smoothly. We’re doing our best to make sure people keep safe and that their families don’t go hungry. We’ve made some changes to the program in order to keep everyone physically distanced while they are here.”

Even during the pandemic, through the generosity of the community, we are ensuring that people in our community are able to get the food and personal items they need.

Khawlah Mahsor, her husband and their five children escaped war in Syria and came to Canada as refugees five years ago.

Three of their children have special needs. They are originally from Iraq but they moved to Syria to receive better supports for their children. Trapped by the war in Syria, they lived in a tent with no electricity or running water for a year before they could leave.

The Mahsors visit the Marketplace at the Good Shepherd Venture Centre each month to get food and supplies.

“Our small budget doesn’t go far,” she says. “We need adult diapers for two of the kids and they are very expensive. Most food banks don’t have them and I appreciate being able to get them here.”

Khawlah worked as a seamstress in Iraq and she has been using her skills to make masks for frontline workers. In Iraq, Khawlah’s husband was a professional soccer player. Now, he volunteers as a children’s soccer coach.

Khawlah does not read or write in English but learned how to speak the language through volunteering at community food banks, sorting canned goods and reading package labels.

It has been difficult to home school the kids and navigate through their disabilities during this pandemic. Khawlah uses Google Translate to communicate with the children’s teachers as much as possible.

“I’m thankful to be in Canada where there are more opportunities for my children and where we can get help like this,” she says, pointing to her shopping cart of groceries she picked up at the Marketplace. “We’re looking at this (pandemic) as just another hurdle for our family to get through.”

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