The Anita Project: year two
How do you honour a woman who believed strongly in our community and what could be done when we all worked together with clarity towards a common goal?
The answer was easy for a group of her friends …you honour her by rolling up your sleeves and continuing on with the work.
Tragically in July 2018, Anita, her husband Joe and their daughter Laura were killed when their plane crashed en route to Eastern Canada.
Months before her death, Anita was instrumental in influencing the amalgamation of the region’s United Ways into United Way Niagara.
Last week we shared some stories, and friendship as we packed 1,000 hygiene kits for what we affectionately call, "The Anita Project". Several years ago it was Anita who organized these packing parties to introduce friends to the needs in our community. The kits include a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face cloth, deodorant, dental floss, comb, and soap. Over the next month they are distributed throughout Niagara to many agencies and shelters such as the YWCA, RAFT, Gillian’s Place, Community Care, and the Southridge Shelter.
$30,000 has been raised by her group of friends over the last two years which has ensured that 3000 people in Niagara have had some of these daily essentials. As those in need open their bags, they read a label "Lovingly purchased and assembled in memory of our dear friend, Anita".
"Anita believed that we each have a responsibility to lend a helping hand to others in need and she used her influence to tell their stories and invite friends along to help as well", said Karen MacKay, a friend of Anita’s "Nothing would make her happier than seeing us all gathered together, unpacking boxes, counting items, filling bags with much needed supplies and sharing in friendship as we support the work of the United Way Niagara."