KC Baby Story

Community of Kindness – Tobin’s Story

Our third child in as many years was born January 15, 2007. Although we lived far away, it was a happy occasion during a very challenging time for my extended family. A few months previous, my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, only days after the birth of his first child. On New Years Day, on the way home from a ski trip, my dad and two sisters were involved in a head-on collision resulting in lengthy hospital stays and surgeries, especially for my dad.

A beautiful, healthy and robust little boy was a happy event. The rest of us were getting over colds and we tried to wash our hands as much as we could. When little Tobin was 14 days old he started sneezing. He seemed a bit congested but not bad. But he didn’t nurse well and didn’t sleep well. On day 17 he developed a fever and I took him to the urgent care center in our community to make sure he was okay. He was happy and alert, and with his big dimples was popular with the nurses and doctor. Their equipment was not pediatric but said he just had a cold and to take him home. The next day he had trouble waking up at all to eat but I was comforted having just seen a doctor and thought he was just getting lots of rest recovering from his first cold. He seemed really cold to the touch, but it was January after all and I just bundled him up more. I contemplated taking him in again but since I was just there the day before I didn’t want to be the over-anxious mother in the emergency room.

That night he was restless all night long. Crying out but not waking enough to eat. In the morning I was so exhausted I gave him to my husband with some pumped milk and went back to bed. At noon I woke and asked my husband how much he had eaten and it was next to nothing. I scooped him up and drove him to the emergency room at the rural hospital where he was born. I broke down explaining my baby wouldn’t eat. One look at him and things started moving quickly. He was quickly surrounded by health care professionals. He was hypothermic and his organs were shutting down. While working on him, he stopped breathing. I watched, horrified and alone, as they gathered around him and revived him. Soon they called STARS Air ambulance and flew him away to the Alberta Children’s Hospital an hour away in the helicopter. I watched them fly away and then went home with an empty car seat. Longest car ride ever. My son ended up being in the hospital for a month with RSV, a kidney infection and meningitis. My 3 and 2 year old girls stayed with my mom a few hours away for the first few days but she was needing to care for my injured father and my husband was at a new job with very long hours. I was torn between the needs of my girls and my desire to be with my son.

That is when the miracle happened.

My church community stepped forward, passing around sign up sheets one Sunday for possible child care and meals. After the first few days, my son was out of NICU and I was able to spend mornings with my girls, the afternoon they went to church friends’ houses and I went to the hospital to be with my son. After work my husband would pick the girls up and come home and find a meal waiting on the porch to feed them supper and get them to bed. Every day my daughters had somewhere to go, and every night my family had a home-cooked meal. For a month. We didn’t know where most of the meals came from but we knew we were loved, thought of, and supported.

In addition, I had a friend and photographer who not only took my children many of the days, but also in the first few rough days found a sitter for her own children and came up to the hospital, an hour away, and spent the entire day and into the night with me. She took pictures of me and my son, made me eat, let me talk, cry, vent, worry. She coaxed me to rest, advocated for me with the nurses, and was my support. She became my shoulder to lean on when I was unsure what procedures to okay, jumped with me when the monitors blared each time he stopped breathing, and brought me magazines and food.

I was not alone.

The kindness of the nurses, doctors, the hospital volunteers, the church and community members who assisted me and my family has always stuck with me. Seeing all the children in those many hospital wards and knowing many of them will not come home like my son did opened up a reality to me that in my head I knew existed but I hadn’t comprehended the magnitude of. It has given me a new perspective and I have used that perspective to help other people in that situation when I come across them. Helping someone in crisis does not have to be a big thing. A loaf of banana bread, a meal, play-dates. Time is most valuable and what is most appreciated. I’ll never forget the time all those people dedicated to me and my family.

Today’s story is from Emily. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.


Make It A Family Tradition To Help Other Families

I’ve always been a Christmas guy. Meaning, I’ve always been part of a family that put much stock in Christmas. I’ve also always been part of a family lucky enough to fill our table with a full Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree with overflowing presents underneath it and plenty of love to spread around. Since having kids, we’ve had the opportunity to continue those traditions.

In Ottawa there are many people celebrating whatever holiday it is they celebrate and many of those families have plenty of the love to go around but maybe not enough of the rest. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was our kids who pointed out to us that not only is that not right, but that it isn’t right for us to do nothing about it.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to do something to make another family’s holiday season a bit more comfortable. It doesn’t have to be anything monetary, it could be as simple as holding open a door for someone carrying gifts through a door. Trust me, being someone who goes through periods of up and down emotional stages, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day.

If you would like to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of organizations out there to help local families celebrate with their loved ones. Many of these organizations are smaller ones that rely on the generous donations of families who can and would be thrilled to have your help.

My personal suggestion is to make this part of your own family tradition–start teaching your children from young age that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of everyone else. Let them help you hold the door, let them put some change in a collection jar or let them put a non-perishable food item in a collection bin. I promise you’ll all feel better and a family you might even know will be able to put something on their table this holiday season.


This story is courtesy of Mike Reynolds from the blog Puzzling Posts. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.


A Little Help At The Cash

I was at Thrifty Foods this afternoon, and the little old couple in front of me were holding up the line because their debit and visa cards kept declining. They were getting frustrated, as were most of the other people in line. They tried absolutely everything including a gift card that the lady pulled out of Christmas card that she had received however it was for a different grocery store.

Finally she pulled the last of the cash she had out of her wallet, $25 and paid down half the bill, trying all her and her husbands cards again to no avail. I could see the frustration and embarrassment as they kept apologizing to everyone in line for the inconvenience.

As she started to take groceries out of her bags so she could afford the bill I took $25 out of my wallet and paid for the remainder of their bill. They were amazingly grateful and it felt amazing! Thank you to WestJet for the inspiration from yesterday!

I refused to give them my name or phone number even though they pleaded for it, but instead told them that when they were in the position, to Pay It Forward to someone else.

I share this not for your praise, but to inspire you to do the same, in whatever way that you want, or can. Make the difference in someones day. Be the Change you wish to see in the world! Starts with you, baby!


Today’s story is from Sarah at More Than Your Average Mom. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.


Serenity’s Kindness Kookies

I don’t think there are many people who have not been moved by the devastation of the typhoon in the Philippines, but one little girl in Kanata was inspired to take action.  This is the story of Serenity’s Kindness Kookies.

One Sunday morning before church, while dining in a restaurant with her parents, Serenity caught sight of news footage out of the Philippines.  She was full of questions and wanted to know why the people were so sad and what was happening.  Her parents explained that there had been a big storm and many people had lost their homes and needed help.

When they returned home from church, Sera ran up to her room where her mother found her packing up her toys and books.  When her mother asked her what she was doing, she said that she wanted to send them to the children she had seen on TV.  She had determined that since they lost their houses, they would not have toys to play with and she would be happy to share hers.  Deeply touched, Sera’s mom, Samantha, then explained that while this was such a kind gesture, there was no way to get the items to the children and what they really needed was money to buy food and build houses.  It was then decided that when payday came around, money would be sent to the Red Cross to help the people in the Philippines.   Seemingly satisfied with this, Sera settled down for a nap.

Later that day, Sera went running to her mom with both fists full of pennies from her piggy bank and asked that it be sent to buy them new houses.  She figured she had enough in those little hands of hers to buy some.  Mom explained that while that was very generous, and the money would be sent, that it takes a LOT of money to build houses.  It was then that Sera decided that she should bake cookies to send to make them feel better.  Again, the logistics of sending cookies were lost on her and so mom agreed that cookies would be baked but they would sell them and send the proceeds.  Serenity insisted that treats from her trick-or-treat bag be used and so a big batch of Smartie cookies were made.

A post on mom’s Facebook page explained to friends and daycare clients that cookies would be sold with donations going to the Red Cross. Sera set up a little table by the front door and decorated it with her play silks. A logo “Serenity’s Kindness Kookies” was created and she set to work wrapping the cookies in plastic wrap and taping on the logos.  (Mom tells me that two rolls of scotch tape were used on that batch!).  Friends and family stopped by that day to visit her cookie store and she eagerly stood behind her table in the front waiting for more “customers”. Former daycare kids brought pocketful’s of change to buy cookies and all of their Smarties from their trick-or-treat bags to contribute and make more cookies. Another 4 batches of cookies later and the next day, Serenity went with her father to work were she raised $200.00 and had requests for more cookies!

The response has been overwhelming.  Friends, colleagues and even some strangers contributed.  In the end she raised $600.00 and her father’s workplace matched donations bringing the total to $1200.00.  With the Government of Canada matching all donations – this sweet girl has raised $2400.00 through her kindness.

“Serenity’s Kindness Kookies” – Kindness Indeed!!


If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

Gifts of Hope

Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope

Plan Canada is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. They are asking that you consider a gift from their “Gifts of Hope“. A Gift of Hope from Plan Canada can be an excellent way to engage children at a young age. It presents a unique opportunity for them to learn, talk about and support important global issues.

Gifts of Hope support real projects that change lives in developing countries. Clean drinking water keeps families healthy; fruit trees grow into a valuable food and income source, and provide respite from the burning sun; a food basket provides cooking staples like beans and fortified cereal that can help stave off malnutrition. The addition of the Typhoon Haiyan relief gift is especially impactful as it will help get the necessities of food, clean drinking water, medical supplies, and shelter to children and families in the Philippines. Any of these life-changing gifts would be ideal for teachers, coworkers and even party hosts.


 image001 New! Typhoon Haiyan relief: $95
Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the worst storm on record, destroyed entire communities and shattered millions of lives when it struck the Philippines. The storm swept away homes, schools, crops … and lives. But with this gift, you can help children and families recover and rebuild. Plan has worked in the Philippines for more than 50 years and has extensive experience responding to natural disasters and other crises, deploying teams of technical experts to support the immediate delivery of clean drinking water, food, medical supplies, shelter and educational resources.
 image002 New! The Quinoa Project: $35
This superfood is a super gift for almost 15,000 families in developing countries, where poor nutrition and health run rampant. This gift of a family garden includes everything necessary for growing that garden: quinoa seeds and other grain crops; training for growing and harvesting the crops; and the know-how to turn those crops into nutritious meals with cooking classes and recipe books. With this gift, you can help families become healthy and strong for life.Gift-giving idea: If you have a gardening enthusiast in your life, this gift can be wrapped with packages of heirloom seeds for next year’s gardening season.


New! Fruit Tree: $12 each or 10 for $120
When you give this gift, your efforts will bear fruit in many forms. Planted around homes, fruit trees provide shade from the unrelenting sun and give families nutritious food to eat, helping them stay strong and healthy. Help families in more developing countries reap the harvest of this gift.Gift-giving idea: A perfect gift to give with jars of delicious homemade fruit preserves.


New! Girls’ take-home rations: $25
Give the gift of food and the gift of education! Many girls in developing countries are often kept at home and out of school because of existing gender roles and stereotypes. With this gift, each month that a young girl regularly attends school, she will receive essential food items such as cooking oil or grains to take home to her family. Feed families, feed young minds, and be part of changing communities, one educated girl at a time.Gift-giving idea: For a daughter, niece or granddaughter, this gift given along with a contribution to an education fund (RESP) emphasizes the importance of an education.


New! Food Basket: $50
Filled with staples like sugar, peas, beans, and cooking oil, it’s a basic food basket with an impact that is anything but. This gift of food for thousands of pregnant women, mothers and young children under five who are malnourished is ultimately the gift of life, especially in countries like Sierra Leone, where maternal and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Along with the food, nutritional training is given as well to help them stay healthy and strong. Basket by basket, you’ll be saving lives.Gift-giving idea: Perfect for home cooks and foodies, give this life-saving gift with a basket of gourmet food items.
 image006 New! School Essentials: $17 for one child, $250 for a class
Fill schools in developing countries with all the essentials to give students the best possible education and the best possible start to a better life. With this gift, you’ll not only be helping provide basics such as textbooks and pencils, you’ll be funding essential school lunch programs and teacher training. This gift will also help children receive education in emergency situations, support programs to reduce school violence and work on improving school hygiene. All of which will help make schools into productive, safe, inspiring spaces where children can get the education they need to make their own choices about the future.Gift-giving idea: A perfect gift for teachers, can be given with a gift certificate from their favourite book store or coffee shop.
 image007  Goat: $75 or $775 for a herd of goats
It just might be the most unique gift you’ll give this year. Goats may make us chuckle with their antics, but the impact they have on a family’s health and income is profound. They provide milk and essential protein for growing children, and the sale of offspring means an income to pay for housing, health, food and schooling. We’re m-a-a-a-d about this gift!Gift-giving idea: A great way to teach children about charity and the developing world, give this gift with a small stuffed goat. Or for an adult, goat’s milk bath products pair well with the spirit of this gift.

This year, give back with Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope, which can easily be purchased over the phone at 1-800-387-1418 or online at  Recipients will receive an electronic or hard copy greeting card letting them know about their personal gift and a tax receipt is issued to the giver.


Food Bank Fridays

Food Bank Fridays started over a year ago as a way to keep my little sorority group of ladies motivated to donate to our local food banks on a regular basis. Then I wondered why not involve more people, so I started a blog with Food Bank Fridays as one of my core components. And now I have my hardcore group of 10 ladies plus a small following around the world (a food bank in England is tweeting a link to my challenges!) It feels great to take what is such a small gesture and amplify it.

What is Food Bank Friday?

I’d noticed that the Food Bank bin at my local store is always empty or nearly so. It is often hidden away in a corner. Out of sight, out of mind. I try to remember to grab something most trips to pop in on my way out of the store. I rally my ladies group in the fall to do a little food drive. I had this idea that I could do more. More to help people in my community. And I could help others help people in their communities. Food Bank Fridays.

Food Banks need donations and support throughout the year. There is an ongoing need to keep the shelves stocked. Families in need don’t just pop up at Christmas time and then conveniently go away right after. There are people that need the Food Banks assistance January-December, so why couldn’t I do a little part to remind people.

I come up with a theme or category for each month and then send out a weekly challenge every Friday. People post it to their Facebook page or forward the email to as many people as possible. The challenges are just something to get you thinking of ways you can help out your local food bank. They are a way to remind you that the need is out there and YOU CAN HELP. You can choose to follow the challenge to the T or you can go all rogue and buy something different or heck even ask the cashier to scan in a donation. The choice of what and how much you do is up to you.


Today’s story is from Tennille at Frugalista Mamas. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.