Abbotsford citizens rally for struggling young family with donations amid pandemic

Expecting mother reached out online for help, community response brought her to tears

A young Abbotsford family received a huge outpouring of support from the community after they posted about their recent struggles online.

Emily Chandler, her husband and new daughter have fallen on hard times. They’ve recently moved back to Canada from the U.S., but were forced to leave an unsafe living situation, forfeiting a months rent and damage deposit in the process and leaving them with little money for groceries. Chandler also recently found out she has another baby on the way. To top it off, the world is in the middle of a pandemic.

“We spent everything we had moving into our new place at the beginning of March and left ourselves really struggling financially,” Chandler said. We’ve never had anything so extreme happen. We’ve always struggled, and there hasn’t been a lot of support, but I’ve never reached out to the community.”

The family tried to go to a local food bank, but unexpectedly lost half of their food hamper after trying to switch out items that Chandler can’t eat because of a severe soy allergy. She made a post to complain on Abbotsford Rants and Raves, a local community Facebook group.

“Immediately, [the response] was people offering, ‘What can I do for you? I have these things. How can I get them to you? How can we help?’” Chandler said. “I didn’t expect it. All I did was complain and there as this huge outpouring of kindness. It was amazing to see and I never thought that would happen.

“The community is amazing.”

Member of the Facebook group started a separate group-chat and started co-ordinating with each other on how to help the family. Over 10 complete strangers organized e-transfers for groceries, worked out who would do the shopping, the delivery, and also rounded up their non-perishable food and hygiene products to give away.

Suman Kainth and her husband were designated as the grocery shoppers, and a food fund of $160 was put together. They ended up almost doubling the grocery bill with their own money, “just to do our little part, that’s all.”

“I actually honestly wanted to give her whatever we could. For her to be in that position, she’s pregnant and has a little child, and they had just moved in,” Kainth said. “While we were shopping, we were concerned that people may be looking at us and judging us because our buggy was so full.”

Rachel Mundell went through all her cupboards to find things to give away to the family, and topped the collection off with an entire frozen chicken.

“I’ve just always been the type of person to give a helping hand,” Mundell said. “Because I’ve been in that position before.”

Paul Goodwin collected donated food from others in the group and delivered it to the family. He said his children are the same age as the young parents, and would hope others would do the same for his kids.

“This is a young family trying to start out, and here with this pandemic, it sounds like they’ve having nothing but bad luck” Goodwin said. “They were extremely thankful, I mean, it was kind of humbling.

“I just wish we were able to help everyone in need. I’m sure she is only one of many stories like that.”

With the family stocked up on groceries, Chandler said she has endless gratitude for everyone who helped them gain some stability.

“I can’t describe how much this helps my family, and how much we thank all of these people,” she said. “It seems like they are doing this with a lot of other people in the community as well. That’s such a beautiful thing.”

RELATED: Signs of support to be posted on grounds of local hospitals

RELATED: Abbotsford restaurants handing out 150 free lunches daily


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

abbotsfordCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New book details 1893 murder in Abbotsford and 2 trials that followed

Farmer John Marshall was found dead on his Sumas Prairie property

Mission’s outdoor farmer’s market to return on June 6

The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until Oct. 3

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

B.C. First Nation adopts Dr. Bonnie Henry, names her ‘one who is calm among us’

Gitxsan officially adopts the provincial health officer in a May 22 ceremony

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read