Written by Jesica Tairoski, a local front-line worker and college student
Communities around the world are continuing to deal with the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. As for our local community, we have been doing our part to keep safe and support one-another during these times of uncertainty.
To share a personal experience, I currently work at a local grocery store and have been working part-time during the pandemic. At our store, we have a lot of rules and restrictions in place to shop effectively according to COVID-19 safety practices. To name a few, there are plexi-glass coverings at the cashiers, arrows on the floor to show direction for proper physical distance, a maximum capacity of people in the store, sanitization of shopping carts, and all workers are required to wear gloves and masks. Also, at the front of the store we have people who offer masks to customers walking in the store.
In this article I will be listing a few ways how front-line workers can access support that they need, and how we, as a community, can support front-line workers as well.
In York Region, hundreds of dedicated and caring front-line workers devote their lives to helping those in need, especially during challenging times.The front-line workers in all public health agencies are heroes in the fight against this pandemic.
The Frontline fund is a website where you can donate to support Canadian healthcare workers fight the COVID-19 crisis by raising funds to get personal protective equipment, mental support, and research.
Social Support for Frontline Workers in Markham
Right now, York region offers free emergency childcare for essential workers, so they can continue to provide services to the community during COVID-19. Those who qualify include those working in grocery stores, pharmacies, retirement homes, truck drivers and others.The City is also working side-by-side with community agencies in order to connect residents to resources, services, programs, and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental Health Resources
Many telephone-based supportive counselling to the community are available to support people experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 and the impact that it has on their daily lives:
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Kids Help Phone 1.800.668.6868
- BounceBack (Ontario)
- Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
211 is a 24/7 web service and helpline that connects residents to social and community services. 211 is working closely with community agencies to ensure their database is up-to-date with current COVID-19 information. This can be helpful for not only local residents but also front-line and essential workers, in-case they need support and new information on the pandemic. Residents who are looking for information on social and community supports and services, should call 211 for non-emergency requests and information.
#MarkhamCares is a community hub on Your Voice Markham where people in the community can share ideas, stories, inspiration and positivity while conquering COVID-19, together. Many community members have shared their appreciation for front-line workers One post reads, “homes on Main Street Unionville have all sorts of blue hearts,to show thanks to everyone working through these times, as well as cheering everyone as they drive, run, walk, bicycle or skateboard along the street!” I have personally seen many homes with blue bands, hearts, and signs around Markham showing appreciation for essential workers, which is a great sight to see as it spreads positivity and encouragement! We are all in this together.
Jesica is an active member of the Markham Community Wellness Group.
Image provided by the United Nations COVID-19 response.