Have you been wanting to show your appreciation for British Columbia’s healthcare workers but didn't know how to show it in a personal way? You’re far from alone.
After nearly two years of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic putting untold pressures on those working in B.C.’s health-care system, a pair of North Vancouver mothers sought a way to thank them. They organized a letter-writing campaign that transcended all social barriers with the collective goal of letting B.C.'s nurses and doctors know how much their work is appreciated.
At a luncheon held Sept. 9, Jabeen Boga and Kristin Auger's weeks of hard work paid off. That day Boga and one of DC Comics' mightiest heroes dropped off 160 handwritten cards and letters to the staff at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. The letters themselves were handed out by actor Kristi Provan from Pacific Fairytales portraying Supergirl.
'Let's make it bigger and let's do more'
In a recent interview with Vancouver Is Awesome, Boga revealed she will continue organizing the letter-writing initiative for other health-care centres across the Lower Mainland, including St. Paul’s and Vancouver General hospitals.
"I didn't want to single out Lions Gate and not do other hospitals,” Boga said. “I thought, let's make it bigger and let's do more.”
Boga’s inspiration to continue on with the initiative came from several places, chief among them: her husband who works in health care. Boga herself worked in the health-care sector in long-term care homes before she took maternity leave to take care of her now nine-month-old son.
“I thought about how much the hospital has done for my family, I thought about my husband and where I worked,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, they need something.’"
"I see my husband working around the clock, sometimes he works 24 hours straight. And he will have, maybe if he is lucky, a fibre bar... if he's working like that, imagine what everyone else is working like,’" Boga added.
Boga also said the anti-vaccine/anti-vaccine passport protests held outside VGH earlier this month were especially motivating for her to bring the health-care workers some positivity.
Boga has reached out to several community organizations, schools, and daycares to see if they want to send a letter to their local healthcare workers. While it is still early in the collection process Boga says the response is already promising. Boga has set up letter collection sites in East Vancouver and Deep Cove and one at her own home in Lynn Valley. In one day her own collection box received 60 cards.
"We had Muslim groups, Christian groups, everything. And for this one, we also have churches writing in their community newsletter to participate,” she said. “It's not like just Muslims or just Christians or just children. It's everyone.”
Boga roughly estimated 300 cards could be collected for the St. Paul's delivery, which will once again be made by Pacific Fairytales.
Your own letters can be dropped off at the following locations:
- Delish General Store at 101-3246 Connaught Cres., North Vancouver
- Much & Little shop at 2543 Main Street, Vancouver
Alternatively, you can contact Boga through her Instagram page to arrange for pickup or drop off.
Depending on the number of letters the deadline for letters for St. Paul’s will either be Sept. 24 or Oct. 1. Letters submitted after the deadline will go to the next facilities on Boga’s list, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital for a drop-off deadline of Oct. 15.