I have never been more proud to be a Canadian.

We’ve all heard stories from our parents and grandparents about how major world events – like the Second World War – had galvanized our country. At that time, national hardship and angst brought out the best in many Canadians, who made huge sacrifices and put our collective needs ahead of their own.

Such is the time we now find ourselves in.

I’m amazed by the acts of kindness from both from businesses and individuals around the country. Early in this crisis, a group of Canadians coined the term “caremongering,” and since then this grassroots movement has spread nationwide.

It’s the opposite of scaremongering, with individuals and groups coming together to support people stuck at home, often seniors, as well as those in financial distress and other precarious situations. Many of these ‘caremongers’ have organized through social media, and are engaging in activities like distributing food, running errands, picking up prescriptions, and offering online support – both technical and emotional.

It’s about spreading kindness during a difficult time.

Businesses are getting involved. Like a Toronto distillery that is making hand sanitizer, and offering it free to seniors and other low-income individuals.

One of my favourite stories involves Hayley Wickenheiser, who we all know as a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and one of the best female hockey players of all time. But she is also an emergency room doctor in training.

Hayley has made it her mission to source personal protective equipment for our front-line health care workers – items like gloves, masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer. And she has also recruited some heavy hitters to assist. Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds is tapping his list of 15.7 million Twitter followers, and automaker Volvo is offering the use of trucks and drivers. Bottom line, the donations have been pouring in.

On a smaller scale, much has been going on locally in Newmarket-Aurora. There are more initiatives than I can include in this post (stay tuned for my next blog), but in a nutshell, both of our Chambers of Commerce, our food banks, community organizations, and individual residents, have been making a positive difference. They’ve been finding ways to ‘caremonger’ for both our residents in need, and for our many local businesses that have been forced to close.

Some of their initiatives include Facebook marketplaces to encourage local shopping, gift certificate programs to support businesses during this downtime, webinars and virtual networking events to keep us connected, as well as task forces to explore ways to bolster the local economy.

I’ll dive deeper into some of these programs and initiatives in my next blog. I won’t be able to cover them all, but invite you to let me know of any that deserve mention.

Take care, please follow our public health guidelines – and be safe.

Tony Van Bynen, MP

Newmarket—Aurora