This past spring, we paid a visit to a special community hero and gave her a helping hand. Three months later we wanted to check in and see how she was doing.
As part of our Give Where We Live campaign, we asked our Facebook fans to share with us how they would give back in their communities.
Michelle Reynen, a 33 year-old mother in Surrey, B.C., told us how she helps residents of the mobile home community she manages. Every week, Michelle, who doesn’t drive, takes the bus to the grocery store to stock up on food supplies that she distributes to those in the park who struggle to afford what most of us consider a basic necessity.
We were inspired by Michelle’s passion and generosity and knew we wanted to help her make an even bigger difference for her community.
Coming together to help those in need
On Monday, May 6, 12 TELUS volunteers loaded our vans with groceries and drove to the mobile home park. Team members spent the morning sorting and packing the food for Michelle to deliver to grateful park residents along with grocery gift cards.
We then surprised Michelle with a barbecue and a deep freezer stocked with several months’ worth of meat and frozen goods, so she could continue to make a difference and help the residents of her community all summer long.
Cooking up compassion all summer long
We spoke to Michelle recently and asked her what that day meant to her and how she’s been able to continue giving back to her community.
What we didn’t know when we first met Michelle in May, was that her boyfriend had been laid-off in February and they were living off her modest paycheque. Despite struggling to support her family, Michelle was still doing her best to help out the residents in her RV community.
“You gave me a window to be able to actually do more than what I had been doing. Instead of just buying enough meat that night because I was making spaghetti for a resident, I now have a stockpile,” says Michelle.
“TELUS is awesome and without your community involvement…I’ve seen the other things you have done to reach out and help people and you don’t get that from big companies…usually they just sign a cheque and leave it at that. You guys got involved, you actually got your hands dirty, you came out and met people. I can’t say enough about that.”
As for the residents who were on the receiving end that special day we paid a visit, Michelle says they are still coming to her and saying thank you.
“I’ve had a couple of tenants say ‘the groceries and gift cards TELUS gave out really got us through a tight spot,’” says Michelle.
“And, a few people received items they couldn’t eat and they chose to go and give them to somebody else who needed help in our little community. They paid it forward, which is really what it’s all about.”
Sadly, a few of the tenants who we helped in May have passed away since our visit. Michelle says the community is still feeling that loss. But, as tourist season comes to a close at the RV park and things return to normal, Michelle is planning a barbecue for the residents that we hope will brighten spirits and help their amazing community come together again, despite their loss.
“Without TELUS I would just be doing the little bit I was doing before, instead of what I am doing now and I really appreciate it,” says Michelle.
Michelle – we think you were doing an amazing job before and are thrilled we were able to help you have an even bigger impact in making a difference in your community. Thank you for all that you do and inspiring everyone to give where we live.