Nothing helps bring people together like food — and the organizer behind the Burlington Community Kindness Connections Facebook page hopes newcomers to the city will join them for a special night at one of Burlington’s newest eateries.
The group’s very first social meet-up takes place Dec. 11 at Loaded Pierogi. The fun will include live music, raffle tickets and prizes; guests can purchase their own eats from Loaded Pierogi’s menu.
The event, like the Facebook group itself, is aimed at helping people make connections, said organizer Phyllis Alcantara.
“At the beginning of COVID, people couldn’t get out; they could only get out for food,” she said. “People were feeling anxiety and stress and I thought, ‘I have to do something’. So we started a bread program. People came out to get bread, and they could stand in line and meet their neighbours.”
The bread nights, which offer free COBS bread each Wednesday evening at North Burlington Baptist Church on Walker’s Line, led to the formation of the Facebook group, which now has more than 1,200 members. The posts are all about helping each other out, whether it’s someone looking for a part-time job, wanting to borrow a household item or hoping to organize a clothing drive, for example.
Alcantara, a Master Life Coach and retired real estate professional, stresses that the page isn’t for advertising. “It’s just a feel-good place to be,” she said.
As the group grows, so does the number of volunteers who keep it running. An admin team runs the Facebook page, and six volunteers help out with the bread nights. Community businesses, such as Loaded Pierogi, RONA and Canadian Tire, are also coming on board to sponsor events and prizes.
“As the group grows, so does what I offer,” said Alcantara. “As new needs come up, we organize events.”
The Burlington Community Kindness Connections social takes place Sunday, Dec. 11 at Loaded Pierogi, 675 Appleby Line, starting at 3 p.m.