Lifetime Networks of Victoria executive director Wendy-Sue Andrew (left) celebrates fellow staffer Melissa MacDonald, winner of Community Living BC’s Widening Our World award, in a modest ceremony Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Sassaman/Community Living BC)

Lifetime Networks of Victoria executive director Wendy-Sue Andrew (left) celebrates fellow staffer Melissa MacDonald, winner of Community Living BC’s Widening Our World award, in a modest ceremony Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Sassaman/Community Living BC)

Victoria woman awarded for uplifting vulnerable communities during pandemic

Dozens have received support from Melissa MacDonald and her Lifetime Networks Victoria team

Community Living BC recognized Melissa MacDonald with the provincial Widening Our World award for her work in ensuring vulnerable communities in Greater Victoria remained safe and connected during the pandemic.

Nominated by Lifetime Networks of Victoria executive director Wendy-Sue Andrew, Victoria resident MacDonald was celebrated in a small ceremony on Dec. 8. The award was announced on Oct. 21.

MacDonald is manager of community inclusion for Lifetime Networks, and along with her team supported more than 140 people experiencing homelessness, addiction or mental health challenges in Greater Victoria since the pandemic began affecting the region in early 2020.

That support came in a variety of ways, according to Community Living BC community relations spokesperson Caitlyn Sassaman; meal preparation and drop-offs, the provision of tents and blankets, doing walks and health checks, and collaborating with the justice system, integrated court and food banks.

“Melissa would often take walks with people on her own time, she’ll (answer) the phone at 3 a.m. when somebody is calling. She just really goes above and beyond,” Sassaman told Black Press Media.

MacDonald is also a liaison between individuals in need of community supports. She works with the justice system, integrated court, Cool Aid, the assertive community treatment (ACT) team, food banks and other community entities to provide care to the people she uplifts, said Sassaman.

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