There is nothing like social media when you want to reach a lot of people in a hurry, especially in Niagara-on-the-Lake, when you want to help someone in need.
Krista London-Verticchio, a relative newcomer to town, discovered just how generous this community can be when she turned to Facebook to find help for a friend.
Crystal, the woman in need, has been cleaning her house since Krista and her family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake two years ago. With two young autistic children, and Krista and her husband working from home, “I really needed some help,” Krista says.
In addition to being the hardest-working person she has ever known, Crystal, who arrived to help her out, became her friend, and now Krista wants to help her in return.
“She didn’t ask me for help,” Krista stresses. Crystal just made a small comment about being in some difficulty, and Krista took her aside and told her she could talk to her, “no judgement.”
Crystal had grown up in foster care after her mom had her at the age of 14, says Krista. She managed to finish high school and put herself through college, and now is a single mom with two children of her own, and no support system, says Krista.
“I was a single mom for a time, so I know how hard it is. This woman just works her butt off. She’s a dream, honestly an angel, and when I realized the extent of her situation, my heart broke for her.”
Crystal hasn’t been able to make ends meet for the last couple of months, despite working seven days a week, at two jobs, says Krista, who, with her husband, did what they could to help. But Krista decided to take to social media to see what else she could do, understanding that this woman needed more than just a short-term donation of food and clothing.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by what people have done, and continue to do a week later. I have no words to express the amount of support we’ve had. I’ve lived in several different cities, and I don’t think this would have happened anywhere else. The number of people who have called with offers of help, who have stopped by my house to drop things off, I didn’t expect this at all. She is very grateful, but this is hard for her. She’s never had family support, just went from foster home to foster home.”
Krista says when she and her husband moved to town, “we immediately fell in love with the community. I must say, this community is truly one of a kind. It brings tears to my eyes, witnessing first hand the level of support this community will provide for one another. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the prime example of community.”
One of the items Krista was hoping to find was school uniforms for Crystal’s two boys, who attend a Catholic school in St. Catharines. Someone donated new uniforms, says Krista. She’s received lots of food, household items, and has also created an Amazon wish list, with any items bought through this link shipped directly to Krista’s. The Amazon boxes are piling up.
The help received so far “is over the top,” says Krista, but she is looking down the road for a long-term solution.
“We have an amazing amount of pantry items. At this point, I would love to see us helping her with winter gear, hygiene and cleaning supplies. My husband and I are dedicated to helping her long-term. Any amount of support this community can provide, will help us support her.”
Krista’s hope to first get “this amazing single Mama” what she will need to see her and her boys through the winter, and then to get her out of debt, and even better, find her a place to live in a better location.
In addition to paying $1,600 rent in an undesirable neighbourhood in St. Catharines, as well as utilities, her friend received funding from the Ontario Student Assistance Program, which she is now struggling to pay back.
“Nobody should have to work seven days a week,” says Krista. “And she just works so hard. This is someone who has done everything right, but nothing is going her way. Nobody should be in her position, and she certainly doesn’t deserve it. Her boys are two of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met.”
What would help more than anything is cash donations, says Krista. “Just donation of a dollar or two would add up, and help her get her head above water. The focus is getting her donations now so she never gets back into this situation, and get her to a place where she can work five days a week and spend weekends with her boys.”
For those who may wish to help by ordering from the Amazon list Krista has created, visit https://www.amazon.ca/hz/wishlist/ls/3SJ7YBT
“Any items purchased off of Amazon comes directly to our house so we can sort it and get it to this amazing single Mama.”
For anyone who would like to drop off or mail a donation, whether it be a gift card, cash donation or physical item, it can be mailed to or dropped off directly to her home in Virgil says Krista, at 676 Penner St., PO Box 859, Virgil, Ont. L0S 1T0.
Contact Krista at firstname.lastname@example.org