Friday, December 21, 2018

Helping others this holiday season

Lorraine Cochrane and Laurie Stewart Lorraine Cochrane and Laurie Stewart

The holiday season is a good time to reflect on what’s important in our lives.
We’re all grateful for our family, friends and the time we get to share together. We’re also thankful for those people who do their part to make the world a better place.
This year, we had the good fortune at the New Brunswick Union (NBU) to be introduced to one such person – Lorraine Cochrane.
Each year the NBU donates $12,000 to its charity of choice on behalf of its members. For the past two years, the New Brunswick Association of Food Banks (NBAFB) has been the recipient.
Recently, the president of the NBAFB Laurie Stewart passed along a letter from a woman in the Saint John area – Lorraine Cochrane. Stewart routinely takes groceries to Cochrane on behalf of the NBAFB and she then distributes them to families in her area that are in need.
In her letter, Cochrane describes the people the food donations are helping:
A dad of three preschool children became ill and unable to work. We are able to help his family with food and toiletries.
There is a family with six children, the father works seasonal when he is able. I wish you could see the joy on the children’s faces (and the relief on the mom) when we arrive with food! It helps her stretch their meager income to provide for her children.
There are others, like a family with seven kids. The dad works, but they can certainly use the help.
The reason I appreciate the food deliveries is that I see firsthand who is getting the food and I personally know the families getting help. I know their situations and know their children. Every child in NB should be able to spend their day with a full belly.
We agree with Lorraine and that’s why we’re so proud to support the NBAFB. We’re also thankful to know there’s people like Lorraine out there helping their fellow New Brunswickers. In fact, we decided to speak with her about her charitable ways.
“I understand those people struggling because I’ve been in their shoes,” she said. “I had two children and was suddenly widowed back in 1984. We had some hard times with very little food.”
She was working, but would often only have enough to feed her children and would go to work without eating.
She and her children persevered and life slowly began to improve and now she’s retired and on the opposite side, helping those who are in a similar situation to the one she faced. She said people can end up needing help through no fault of their own and encourages others not to judge people for their circumstances, but rather be compassionate, caring and giving.
The NBU encourages everyone, if they can, to make a donation to their local food bank this holiday season. It will help the staff of the NBAFB and the multitude of volunteers like Lorraine make a big difference in the lives of New Brunswickers.