Heard About Caremongering? It’s All Good!

How a new caring wave powered by regular Canadians, is using social media to share kindness faster!

Mar 26, 2020

It’s a new trend with its own hashtag! Along with words like self-quarantine, social distancing, and adding the word virtual in front of almost anything as our lives move online, the word “caremongering” is rapidly becoming part of our new vocabulary as we navigate the current “new normal”. But this new word is DIFFERENT! The word is a play on scaremongering, but it wants to do the opposite! It’s used to describe an active, grassroots community movement that started on Facebook in Canada. This community wave is sidestepping panic, and reaching local people that could use the most help right now.

We’ll let Valentina Harper, the Toronto resident who founded the first caremongering Facebook group with Mita Hans less than a fortnight ago, and now with around 10,000 members and counting, explain how these groups share hope:

“Scaremongering is a big problem,” Harper told the BBC. “We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other. It’s spread the opposite of panic in people, brought out community and camaraderie, and allowed us to tackle the needs of those who are at-risk all the time — now more than ever.”

This is how it works. Harper’s group and others like it, use a system for sharing requests and offers. Typically, posts are divided between two main topics: those for people in search of help, and others for people offering help. Users tag posts with #iso (people in search of), and #offer (people putting out offers to help). #news, #need, #suggestion and #discussion are other tags used, according to the nature of the post.

The following was recently posted on the Facebook page of Caremongering Toronto, which has a motto of “Nobody left behind”:

Caremongering groups are the best!
Caremongering groups are multiplying, and effectively providing food, meds and other necessities to those in self-isolation or quarantine across Canada. They are also relaying accurate information about the Coronavirus, and offering people an uplifting read in anxious times that helps restore their faith in humanity.

As social distancing continues, offers are going beyond the usual errands, reports CTV News. Computer experts are offering to help less technically-savvy people set up home offices, while others have replaced the books in some Little Free Libraries with free food for those who need it.

Sharing gratitude!
People getting help are praising the goodwill that has been life-changing for them. Paul Viennau, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is quoted as saying that the help he received through the trend felt “like a hug”, ending his feeling of isolation. Viennau has a disability and a compromised immune system that meant hand sanitizer was part of his life, even before the pandemic happened. A friend posted to the Halifax caremongering that Viennau needed to renew his supply, and his wish was granted.

 
 
 
 
 
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Women in Canada have started a movement of care-mongering, the opposite of scare-mongering, to record all the good that is happening in neighborhoods and to offer an “uplifting read in anxious times.” . I thought we could do the same to spread positivity like a contagion! . What acts of kindness have you seen or heard about happening where you live no matter how small? Tell me about them in the comments! . For ex) I heard people are making paper shamrocks to post in their windows today on St. Patrick’s Day- to give neighborhood kids a fun outdoor scavenger hunt. (Hazel asked, What do the kids get when it’s done? Toilet paper?????) . My street has also started an email chain to help the elderly on our block get the groceries and medicines they need. . Would love to hear your stories about people being their generous selves! . . . . #caremongering #joyoverfear #braveoverperfect #fiercejoy #canada???????? #stpatricksday #mycancerjourney #futurecancersurvivor #raredisease #chemo #radiationtherapy #rarecancer #chordoma #cancerwarrior #back40project #healerwhoishealing

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Quadra Island lies just off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia and has less than 3000 inhabitants. Senior Mike Windram, who suffers from several health issues, is in self-isolation, but has been able to rely on local people thanks to the Island’s new caremongering group. As he told the National Observer:

“I have friends and neighbors willing to do anything for me, but they were busy one day so I asked the caremongers. They not only did my shopping, but they gave me stuff I needed that they had on hand and wasn’t in stores.” Touched, he added “I really feel cared for, I love this community.”

Kristene Perron, rolled out the local group after being inspired by similar Canadian initiatives. She has beautiful things to say about the new local team and its groundswell of offers to help others in Quadra: “These are the kind of everyday heroes that will get us through this crisis.”

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DAPHNE KASRIEL ALEXANDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.