Ms. Zhang and her husband are in their late 50s. Ms. Zhang’s challenge to adjust to her new home became exacerbated as the result of the COVID19 pandemic.
Arriving in Vancouver in early January 2020, Ms. Zhang and her husband does not have a large social or professional network to lean on for support during the lockdown. Social isolation is amplified for the couple especially due to the language barriers.
Through an existing client, Ms. Zhang learned that settlement service at Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House is free and available on multiple virtual platforms during the lock-down. She got in touch with Liliane Li, the Settlement Coordinator at Frog Hollow, immediately.
“Liliane spent great effort to provide us with valuable analysis, suggestions as well as lots of valuable resources”, said Ms. Zhang in her email she sent to Frog Hollow on June 16, 2020.
In addition to financial and job-related resources,
“Liliane referred us to Frog Hollow’s Food Security Program. The program staff, Eva, was so kind and try her best to help us go through a hard time.” Ms. Zhang explained in her email.
Ms. Zhang and her husband began receiving emergency food hampers from Frog Hollow’s Food Security Program on a monthly basis.
“The freshly prepared hampers include food items, i.e. pasta and rice, donated by the Great Vancouver Food Bank, as well as produce and bread items funded by City of Vancouver’s Sustainable Food Systems grant and purchased from Fresh Direct, Quest Food Exchange, Sunrise Pita Bakery etc. These hampers were delivered right to their door by the volunteers from the United Way Volunteer Program. Frog Hollow Food Security Program also has received donated frozen meals from Vancouver Food Runners and frozen homemade soups from Vancouver Soup Company to support more families during these difficult times.”
Eva Aboud, the Food Security Coordinator at Frog Hollow, introduced how collective resources were put together during Covid-19.
Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House closed all in-person settlement services since mid-March to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. However, being sufficiently equipped with technology, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), such as laptops, upgraded cell phones and virtual conferencing platform like Zoom, the Frog Hollow team was able to pivot all in-person settlement services to online platforms efficiently, helping more than 130 newcomers, and refugee families to respond better in the time of disruption and uncertainty.
These tools became critical for newcomers and their families to stay connected with our settlement workers, receive news and information timely. They also supported the very close-knit team, previously worked together side by side in a small office, but now sequestered in their homes, to stay connected and still able to work collaboratively and efficiently to support clients such as Ms. Zhang.
“Their supports are so important to my family and a “thank you” cannot express my thankfulness and appreciation,” concludes Ms. Zhang in her email.
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