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Resilience: The Power of Community

Resilience: The Power of Community

James Meloche notes Community Care’s COVID partnerships are ‘the foundation of the rebuilding’


As the CEO of Durham’s largest community support services organization, I often hear how others have “pivoted” in response to the COVID pandemic.

Pivot is the new buzzword of 2020. Clearly the ability of people, organizations and governments to be responsive to the changes of this pandemic is essential.

However, at our management table we rarely speak about pivoting. Instead we speak about being resilient and continuing to support the physical and mental resiliency of our clients, our staff, our volunteers and our community.

Resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma or stress. The key word is adapting, which means accepting the challenge in front of you, acknowledging its impact, making appropriate change and moving forward healthier, stronger and wiser.

At CCD, we believe the greatest source of community resiliency can come in the form of innovative community partnerships.

For example, at the outset of COVID, CCD created the Community Food Box program to provide additional food security to our clients. The weekly box is overflowing with healthy nutritious essentials that allow clients to stay safely at home. To make it work, we partnered with other local agencies to help deliver boxes across Durham Region. We collaborated with local municipalities to expand our capacity, and local politicians took the time to deliver boxes while raising awareness. We built relationships with local Durham growers and businesses to stock the boxes while supporting their economic needs. We teamed up with Durham College, who not only provided us with fresh foods, but recipes and tips on food preparation. Since late March we’ve delivered 4,356 Community Food Boxes to homes across Durham Region. This has been more than pivoting. It’s been a story of community resilience.

COVID has taught us many lessons at high costs. Now the challenge is how to rebuild the fabric of lives and communities, making them even stronger, more resilient.

Community organizations and their volunteers are community builders. We are all investors in resilience. Rooted in the community, we have collectively built positive social networks that, going forward, will be the foundation of the rebuilding. This is the time for non-profits and local businesses to forge new innovative partnerships on behalf of our community’s resilience. For example, it’s CCD’s intention to evolve our Community Food Box program into a regional “farm-to-table” solution for at-risk citizens — thereby promoting equity, food security, local economic growth and sustainable ecological solutions. And we look forward to working with our partners on other innovative projects.

Together, we are stronger. We can be resilient.

The Metroland Media Group first published this column on December 15, 2020.