Local woman prepares 1,000 meals to respond to pandemic need
WEST LORNE, ONT. -- She did it!
Krista Harris of West Lorne has personally prepared 1,000 meals to respond to the added need of the community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meals have been delivered to those in need in London, Strathroy, Chatham and all points in between.
The accomplishment of preparing 150 meals a week, for nearly seven weeks, didn’t begin with a goal.
A giving person, Harris says the idea spawned from a decision she made last Thanksgiving. Then, she prepared 10 meals for those in need and walked away feeling positive, but like she could have done more.
Once the pandemic hit, the mother of two, who also home schools her children, decided she needed to get cooking again.
“When all of this pandemic started I realized there’s probably even more of a need now because people are shut in, the disabled, the immune-compromised, all these people are without any help.”
The cooking started relatively small, but with each meal prepared and delivered more requests started flooding in.
People wanted to provide meals to those laid-off, the homeless, seniors, and especially front-line workers.
Along with her husband and her two children, who peeled vegetables, Harris took it all on.
It never became too much, but help was on its way, starting with some cash and then food donations to keep going.
“Before I knew it I had $300 worth of groceries show up at my doorstep from someone in the community."
Soon after people volunteered to drive the requests to those in need, while the production line grew at Harris’s home. A freezer was installed in her garage to store prepared meals and even her hard working oven was repaired - for free - when constant use nearly shut it down forever.
Throughout she kept her spirits high as groups in West Lorne, including some local high school students, stepped up to help her make the goal.
But the main motivation remained the people she was helping.
One, Kait Symonds of London, turned her gift around.
After receiving a meal, the former group home support worker, on a medical leave, decided to help some of her former teen clients and deliver meals.
“There are a lot of teen moms who are just trying their best. Some are in motels. Some are living on their parents couch. All of them are very low income."
Symonds says Harris has inspired her and others with her extreme act of generosity.
Harris is grateful for the kinds words.
“I’ve had a lot of people just so thankful and say, ‘You’re such an angel, you’re a hero,’ and all this stuff. That’s wonderful and all that, but the real reward is to hear the compliments from those who benefitted from it. Just to know that I did try to do my part in the midst of something like a pandemic."
And that’s a lesson we can all take away, amidst our “new normal.”