Random acts of Canadian: Celebrating acts of kindness in challenging times

We are months into quarantine, and it feels like we’re continuously being bombarded with negativity and bleak information about COVID-19. Despite all of the circulating negative news, there are so many Canadians who are doing great things to help one another during this difficult time. And RBC wants those stories to be heard.

That’s why they launched Random Acts of Canadian, a space filled with positive stories that highlight the great things Canadians have been doing amidst this pandemic.

RBC describes this initiative as “a celebration of the incredible acts of kindness, generosity and ingenuity of individuals across our country.” This is a new national call to showcase the incredible ways in which Canadians are positively impacting and supporting one another, their communities and Canada as they cope with the ongoing stress of living through – and emerging from – the global pandemic.

From musicians putting on performances for self-isolating residents in Toronto apartment buildings, to kids donating homemade cookies to homeless shelters in Vancouver, to grandmas sewing countless masks to donate to frontline workers across the country, RBC says people are showing “what it means to be Canadian.”

Many Canadian immigrants have been involved in this movement. Numerous stories continue to come from this RBC initiative that spotlight the selfless work of Canadians who have moved here from different countries.

Astrid Arumae | Supporting seniors through these challenging times
This Estonian-born Quebecer, who was featured on Random Acts of Canadian in July, founded the Outremont COVID-19 Help Foundation, a non-profit that picks up and delivers groceries and medications for selfisolating seniors and other individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus.

“I was really worried about our seniors who were told to self-isolate without any immediate solutions [for] how to get simple things like groceries,” says Arumae. “I felt the need and urgency to act to help out those in need.”

Friends and community members were quick to support Arumae’s idea of getting volunteers to run errands for higher-risk individuals. But soon, she realized that infrastructure to deal with grocery bills and to collect donations would be necessary to make a bigger impact, which is why she recently incorporated the idea into an official non-profit.

Today, the foundation has a governing body, with over 60 volunteers, and has completed about 600 deliveries and help requests, and they are not planning on stopping any time soon.

The Foundation has big plans for the future. Looking ahead, Arumae says that in addition to grocery operations, they are planning to expand into creating social engagement programs to help break social isolation for those who are in confinement.

Speaking of the impact she and her team have had on the Outremont community so far, the non-profit founder says, “It feels great! … Helping others has helped me just as much. It has changed my life, actually.”

Steve Kidron | Feeding Toronto’s vulnerable during COVID-19
Steve Kidron, an Israeli-born Torontonian, has gone from being hungry to helping the hungry. “I moved from Israel in 1990. My transition was not an easy one and I experienced homelessness for a time,” he says. “When you experience something like that, you automatically develop an empathy for those that go through the same thing. When you have strangers sharing a portion of their sandwich with you, you have an appreciation for human kindness and generosity.”

Three decades after he moved to Canada, Kidron is now the owner of Kitchen 24, which has 35,000 square feet of commercial kitchen space that is rented out to chefs, caterers, and food start-ups.

Knowing what it’s like to experience food insecurity, he has felt the responsibility to help, recognizing that the pandemic put Toronto’s vulnerable at an even greater  risk. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the business owner has been using a portion of his kitchen space for the Kitchen 24 GiveBack Initiative, where volunteers have come together to make and donate meals to the community.

“There is no better achievement in life then knowing you were able to help so many,” he says.

So far, Kidron and his team have made 50,000 meals, and they are looking forward to continuing and growing their efforts by turning the GiveBack Initiative into an official non-profit. In addition to this expansion, Kidron also plans to help restaurant businesses that have negatively been impacted by the pandemic.

“There is always a need to do more and help more,” he says. “I am not going to stop now or even when the pandemic is over.”

To learn about the other selfless ways Canadians have been showing up to support their communities and celebrate the acts of kindness that are happening across Canada, or to submit your own story, head to randomactsofcanadian.com.