Sooke resident Christina Pelletier was tired of all the negativity on social media. So she started looking around for something else, something positive.
Pelletier found Sooke Embrace, a Facebook page dedicated to creating a safe environment where Sooke residents can support each other.
“In a world where social media has become so dehumanizing, it’s so beautiful to see a group that cares about people,” Pelletier said, who’s been with the group since day one and now serves as one of the four page administrators.
The idea got started by Dana Wright, who noticed lots people around Christmas time going on several Facebook pages asking for help or advice during tough times, no place in social media existed where everyone could congregate and provide aid for others.
“I thought, we can be better neighbours … it’s a small town, we can be more effective in taking care of each other,” Wright said.
“All I wanted was something simple, just a safe space where you could put your needs down and trust that your neighbours are not going to judge you and that they’ll reach out.”
It’s also meant to provide that help and understanding throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.
“Everyone’s in that high of Christmas, ‘let’s all give’ but this [Sooke Embrace] is something all year round. We all go through hard times, it’s nice to continue to lend a hand,” Pelletier said.
The group expanded quickly, and began raising funds and pooling resources to provide families in Sooke with baked goods and fresh veggies and fruits. After several bottle drives, members of the community in the group orchestrated an online auction of donated items on Facebook, which allowed them to gather nearly $3,000.
It didn’t stop there, either, because that money was then leapfrogged into launching three community gardens, wholesomely donated by random Sooke residents, to start cultivating vegetables and fruits.
It worked. Pelletier said thanks to everyone involved with the operation, feeding as many as 27 families in Sooke, something both Pelletier and Wright hope to maintain.
The way it works is simple, all you need to do is ask, Wright added.
“You ask, we put it out, and we’ll see what the community responds with,” she said. “This isn’t about us, it’s about the community working as collective towards a greater good.”
With the group growing bigger and bigger with more support underway, a potluck will be held for members to meet face to face and get to know each other – in person.