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VIDEO: Cape Bretoners are in isolation, but kindness isn't

Peggy MacDonald, centre, with daughter Laura, left and son Justin, with some of the face masks they have been making for anyone who needs them and delivering for free. CONTRIBUTED
Peggy MacDonald, centre, with daughter Laura, left and son Justin, with some of the face masks they have been making for anyone who needs them and delivering for free. CONTRIBUTED
SYDNEY, N.S. —

Although people are self-isolated, kindness obviously isn’t.

Peggy MacDonald of North Sydney and her children have not only been making protective face masks but delivering them to those in need.

“We posted a note on Facebook that we were making the masks free for anyone looking for them,” said MacDonald.

Her son Justin, 29, has been delivering them. The masks are sealed in plastic bags and put in mailboxes. 

“We never go to a door,” she said. “They never see us.”

Masks have been delivered to various places including the Miners Memorial Manor, Northside Guest Home, an assisted living group home in Sydney Mines as well as the Petro-Canada on Grand Lake Road in Sydney.

“There was someone looking for one for an 86-year old man in Howie Centre, so Justin drove over and dropped one off there,” she said. “He’s been driving all over the place dropping them off.”

MacDonald said with the COVID-19 crisis there’s a shortage of masks and feels they’re vital especially for healthcare workers and those with health issues.

“These are reusable, they can take them home and wash them.”

A letter of thanks written by the owners of Belly Busters and Donair in Membertou and staff, to staff of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. - Contributed
A letter of thanks written by the owners of Belly Busters and Donair in Membertou and staff, to staff of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. - Contributed

A stay at home mom with five children between the ages 10 and 30, MacDonald is an avid community volunteer including minor hockey, minor baseball and the Ferrisview School breakfast program. At a time Nova Scotians were asked to stay at home, MacDonald couldn’t remain idle, so one day dug her sewing machine out of a closet.

“Justin said, ‘Mom, I haven’t seen that sewing machine in 20 years,” she said. 

“He’s right. The last thing I sewed was a blanket for him when he was nine. He’s 29 now.”

With most stores closed now, it’s challenging to get material. MacDonald put a call out on Facebook for donations of cotton material received a few responses. 

So far, MacDonald has made over 300 masks and has no plans of stopping.

“As long as I can keep getting the material I will keep making them for whoever or wherever they are needed,” she said. 

People can reach the family on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kenneth.macdonald.108 or by phoning them at 902-574-6715.

MEMBERTOU BUSINESS COOKS UP LOVE

Paul McDonald was cooking up lots of love in Membertou Thursday.

MacDonald, co-owner of Belly Busters Pizza and Donair in Membertou along with Kirk Christmas, and their employees made 45 pizzas and delivered them to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital staff.

“It’s about them putting their lives on the line for us,” MacDonald said. “They are the ones upfront and centre with this whole thing. We can all isolate but they can’t.”

MacDonald said the pizzas were not only for health care workers but all staff including environmental services, cafeteria workers, security, volunteers and others, all in this high-risk environment.

“They are out there working and they’re not going to stop. They are going to keep us all safe.”

Julia White, left and Dave MacDonald, employees of Belly Busters Pizza and Donair in Membertou, in the kitchen. Paul MacDonald, co-owner of the business along with Kirk Christmas, cooked 45 pizzas Thursday with the help of staff and delivered them to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital as a thank you. - Contributed
Julia White, left and Dave MacDonald, employees of Belly Busters Pizza and Donair in Membertou, in the kitchen. Paul MacDonald, co-owner of the business along with Kirk Christmas, cooked 45 pizzas Thursday with the help of staff and delivered them to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital as a thank you. - Contributed

MacDonald said the idea came when he woke up Thursday, thinking about how many people are self-isolated while these workers risk their lives.

The pizzas — with help from his cooks Dave MacDonald and Matthew MacDonald of Sydney Mines — were to give the staff an opportunity for a break and snack. 

Julia White, also an employee of Belly Busters, contacted the hospital and worker Brandon Fraser met them outside.

Along with a variety of pizzas, there was even garlic fingers.

In a Facebook video making the pizzas, MacDonald encouraged the public to reach out to someone in any of the many occupations continuing to keep the communities safe, to say thank you.

“A thank you for standing up for us all at a time like this.”

Belly Busters, operating only as a takeout for the time being, includes a convenience store on the other side. MacDonald said they are constantly sanitizing but close the restaurant side every few days for extra disinfecting. The convenience store stays open with precautions such as plexiglass and social distancing.

“We only allow two customers in the store at a time,” he said. “Chief Terry Paul has really taken this COVID-19 crisis by the horns and is keeping the community updated and safe.”

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GIVES BACK

Rahul Glyde Sanan.
Rahul Glyde Sanan.

A Cape Breton University international student says Cape Breton has been good to him, so it’s payback time.

“So many good things happened to me the last year and a half,” said Rahul Glyde Sanan, 26, originally of India and now of Sydney. “I’m so happy to be here.”

Sanan recently posted on Facebook offering to pick up anything anyone might need in Sydney and deliver it. To avoid contact, Sanan asks the person to e-transfer only cost of the goods, his services are free.

“People have been kind to me,” he said. “I want to give back now.”

Sanan has received requests and so far has picked up everything from groceries to water bottles.

A New Waterford senior also contacted him. Although he’s trying to provide these good deeds in the Sydney area, he helps people in outlying areas without other options.

Sanan came to Cape Breton two years ago studying for his diploma in supply chain management. 

Things never started well, having a landlord who harassed them.

“We had to leave in the middle of the night once to get peace of mind to study.”

He ended up with a new landlord who went above and beyond, even providing drives when needed. Then he made a lot of friends.

“There were times someone in the community might be misbehaving with me, making me feel uncomfortable, and my friends would stand up for me.”

Sanan said when his father died people were there for him and when he suffered financial struggles, friends invited him to move in.

“Any time I was confused about something all I had to do was stop and ask, even a stranger would help me every time.”

Sanan said on outings he’s also calling friends and picking up what they need, allowing them to stay self-isolated.

Although he has been helping daily, with cases of COVID-19 increasing he’s now limiting store trips to Wednesdays and Fridays.

Anyone needing assistance can visit Sanan’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rahulsaran.2329 or phone 902-549-2297.

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