Feature Article: Seeing Light in the Dark
Due to COVID-19, our lives have been turned upside down and it has been hard. So many of us miss our lives before coronavirus; we remember gatherings with family, travelling abroad, dining out, seeing our friends and contact with others less than 6 feet apart. We worry about work or school or sickness or know someone who is. There has been so much change and uncertainty, it has been an emotional roller coaster ride over the many months. It’s been challenging and exhausting during this dark time.
But it isn’t all bad. When you view things differently, joy and connection may come in unexpected form. As long as we have faith, we can find ways to overcome the dark moments, see the light and find fresh opportunities.
105 Gibson Centre encountered many difficulties in the past year: closure of the Centre due to lockdown restrictions, no on-site classes or indoor sports, cancellation of special events, limitations on community gatherings, and no face-to-face interactions with neighbours, clients, volunteers and staff.
However, with the strong mission in our heart, we adapted our services to better serve those in need. We developed many new ideas and activities, in alignment with the public health guidelines. These new initiatives were widely accepted by our existing users and engaged more new users too.
Here are three examples:
- WEWALK Staff Walkathon. Due to gathering restrictions, our staff walked for the donors. It was a tremendous success and exceeded our target.
- Donations to Food Bank. Many donors responded to the urgent call and we were able to purchase the essential food and necessities to support families in need in our community. In 2020, Food Bank provided almost 2,000 food boxes.
- Christmas Drive-thru Giveaway. We distributed 1,087 gift bags to community residents, regardless of their background or situation. This event attracted attention from the community, TV media outlets and a YouTuber . Our wish was to share Christmas love and happiness with our neighbours especially during this pandemic time. Afterwards, we heard that they also shared some items with those who did not attend on the event day.
Living through this global pandemic is not easy, but we can flip the view on how we see these experiences and discover amazing new possibilities.
A Message from Ray : The Light Within
As I tumble along this highway of anxiety in a pandemic that doesn’t seem to end (U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the new COVID-19 variants could dominate the U.S. by March), I came across this Danish term, Hygge, used “when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming or special.” I began to think to myself, where could this hygge come from? For me, the term has come to mean simply as recognizing a good moment. This can be extremely hard, but not impossible. I have taken baby steps intentionally to slow down, to watch my moments, to be still, not want constantly to do things but ask myself, “what do I value in this moment right now?” and “what makes me content in the moment?” For me, the answer always comes back to being with Jesus. We all are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel, for that vaccine, for that sense of normalcy again, or something else. Those will come I assure you, but if I reach for it as if over there lies the answers to all my life’s worries and struggles and I forget to be mindful of what’s going on within, then I may have missed an opportunity to find myself, to learn how to be content with the simple things, with what matters most to me, with my life’s circumstances, or with something new. I may have sought answers in the wrong places before, but I can take the time now to change course. Now could be the time to make that choice to hygge, to Jesus even, and to a life with purpose and fulfillment.
My Experience with 105 Gibson
We are grateful to connect with new friends who supported the Christmas Drive-thru Giveaway event. One of them is Peoples Christian Academy who organised fundraising in their school for our event. Another person is a famous YouTuber, The Director, who participated in the event and promoted it on his channel .
We are happy to have them share their experience with 105 Gibson.
Alex Abdulnour, Director of Operations and Ministry
Peoples Christian Academy
“Peoples Christian Academy learned about 105 Gibson Centre and the Christmas Giveaway outreach through several PCA parents affiliated with the ministry directly. As the Body of Christ, the opportunity resonated without our desire to partner with other local ministries as a vital part of our own 2020 Advent Outreach endeavours.”
The Director, YouTuber
Toronto Life Diary (YouTube Channel)
“A friend told me about 105 Gibson Centre and its Cultural Café, operated by vision-impaired people. I found it very meaningful, so I visited the Centre, interviewed Rev. Danny Leung, and posted it on my Facebook (not a YouTuber yet at the time).
I learned about the Christmas Drive-thru Giveaway Event from a Facebook group. I came in person to support it and promoted it on my YouTube channel. I believed my fans would be happy to join the event after watching my clip. The collection arrangement was quite smooth, and it was well-organised.”
105 Gibson in Action
Flu Shot Clinic –
The Centre has partnered with “Health for All” Family Health Team, to provide flu shot service for seniors.
Christmas Drive-thru Giveaway Event –
We gave out 1,087 free gift bags on December 23 to families in our community, to shared the joy love and happiness of at Christmas regardless of their background or situation.
Food Bank Christmas Hamper –
Thanks to the support of many individuals, groups and MAZON Canada, we distributed 55 hamper baskets to families in need.
Older Adult Services Lunar New Year Celebration –
The online celebration on February 20 was filled with joy. Thanks to special guest, Heavenly Melody Gospel Ministry for their wonderful performance.
Supporting 105 Gibson
Support our Food Bank during COVID-19
The demand in the community has remained high as the pandemic rages on into 2021. We find that there is a rising demand for food from immigrants and refugees from Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
Our Food Bank is one of the essential services we are running during the pandemic, to provide food to people who are struggling financially.
You can help us to ensure that our neighbours will have access to food and hope.
A $100 donation can provide food for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) for 4 days.
We cannot do it without you!
We also welcome you to join our efforts in blessing the community through partnership, donations and volunteering.
Please visit our website for more information on how you can partner with us!