The City of Barrie and its people met this head on. In an incredible moment in history the world shut down – but this city rose, facing the challenge with the strength of its people…Barrie Families Unite!
March 14, 2020, a sunny Saturday amidst worldwide confusion; a dream became reality.
Nikki Glahn, a resident of Barrie, felt a true desire to do something, anything to help.
Considering sage advice from close friends Nikki decided that people needed people to help each other during this totally bizarre time.
Keeping it Simple!
Nikki decided to keep it simple and created a Facebook group. The group was created as a space to facilitate help within our community; a place to post and check in on posts from others in regards to needs that people may have during the uncertain times. BARRIE FAMILIES UNITE was created “TOGETHER as a COMMUNITY.”
To her amazement there were 500+ people who had joined the group within the first 3 hours!
Every person, at every level has been able to assist or receive goodness from the total unselfishness of others.
Now, 1 year later at 11.8K members, this group has made an incredible grassroots movement of helping each other a part of every day.
BFU has helped residents as young as infants to the elderly and infirm. They’ve found shoppers for those who couldn’t go themselves; fundraisers and drives for Pop-up Clothing Shops and campaigns for Christmas Cheer drives – all at no cost to anyone needing the services.
A Call to Action!
At the time of this one year anniversary Nikki realized that the foundation of her original mission needs to be formalized in order to continue moving forward.
Putting out a call to action, Nikki received no less than 70 residents wanting to volunteer, contribute, support, build and maintain the community!
This is on top of the DOZENS of volunteers that have been an integral part of building the BFU Community this past year. Literally thousands of people hours have already gone into getting BFU to where it is today!
There has been authentic desire, gratitude and feedback from the residents of the city.
Moving forward with a strategic planning committee the desire is to be proactive rather than the reactive measures they survived upon during their first year.
The growth has been incredible, the challenges wonderful, and the results amazing! Barrie Families Unite has become a facilitating group on steroids!
Moving forward BFU plans to remain true to their origin:
Clothing children as a primary concern
Food and medical devices for those in need
Creating a strong infrastructure with strategic planning now allows the group to create a cyclical calendar of events as a main focus.
Secondly BFU envisions that they will contivue to be available to assess and assist during emergency/disaster situations; people in transitions; people starting over.
There is currently a temporary warehouse where the group has been allowed to store excess stock and supplies of commonly needed items, BUT they are searching for a permanent home!
This is real people helping real people at a pure grassroots level.
And the Nominee is...
BFU is a finalist for the MAYORS INNOVATION AWARD 2020 – Community Impact. This award recognizes an organization (public or private) that has stepped up to proactively build connection, resilience and morale among Barrie residents, businesses and/or cultural communities.
BFU has done that and more! Partnerships have been created throughout all avenues of services.
Imagine: A BFU member (Alison Pinkey) organized to have 515 hot meals supplied by 2 area Restaurateurs; Danny’s Fish and Chips and Cravings Fine Foods – delivered by volunteers to shut in seniors during the initial shutdown. Each one delivered with a beautiful handmade card to help put a smile on a seniors face. BFU is also currently assisting with a Pay it Forward partnership between BFU members and The Good Food Box where 30 boxes of fresh produce are delivered to families in need on the 2nd Wednesdaqy of each month. And that’s just 2 of many collaborating partnerships! Actually there’s so much that is being done and can be done, visit the page to see how BFU can assist anyone you know is struggling, or how you can assist!
This is all being done by volunteers, all done to assist a neighbor, friend or stranger just to lend a helping hand in the moment.
Barrie Families Unite – Well Done!
Listen to our podcast interview with Nikki
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Stephen Elliott