Kendra Willems, seen here Nov. 5, created a Facebook page to help facilitate social supports such as clothing donations in an informal manner that supplements existing supports and charities. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)

Kendra Willems, seen here Nov. 5, created a Facebook page to help facilitate social supports such as clothing donations in an informal manner that supplements existing supports and charities. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)

Skeena Voices | ‘We could all use that kind of goodness’

Kendra Willems, new to Terrace, founds charitable Facebook page

Kendra Willems is pretty new to the Terrace area, but that didn’t stop her from rolling up her sleeves and helping out in the community.

She moved here about a year ago with her husband and their 11-year-old daughter. The family is from Whitehorse, and they spent some time moving around other small B.C. towns before Willems’ husband found industrial work in Kitimat.

Willems recently created a Facebook page called Terrace, BC Community Help and Helpers, which serves as a platform for donations such as clothing or snow-shoveling, as well as a forum for discussion about social services in the area.

The page has nearly 200 members so far and has already been used to facilitate several donations of clothing and there is plenty of passionate discussion about how to help more.

The page is not intended to overlap existing services, Willems said. It’s meant to be an informal supplement to established, more structured social supports and charities.

“I’m really interested to see where it goes, because the whole point of it is to be community driven, right, to have it not be this hugely organized thing,” she said. “It’s just for people to come together and ask for help where they may need it, or give help when and where they can without any big commitment behind that help.”

“It’s not meant to overlap anything and it’s not organized in a way that it could. It’s just a gap-filler.”

The idea to start the page began when she went to the bank on the first day of snow Terrace saw this winter, and she found a whole bunch of people huddled in the bank trying to keep warm

“I noticed there was about 15 to 20 people shoved into that bank,” she said. “I mean it was packed like sardines in there, which from a community health standpoint, that’s not great with COVID, so if people need a reason to want to help with that, it will affect all of us.”

That experience sparked a desire in Willems to learn more about what social services were available in her new hometown. She wanted to know what she could do to help ensure everyone had a safe, warm place to rest.

As she reached out and began to learn more about the services that exist, she realized she wanted to contribute and also foster a discussion on social media, because it isn’t always easy to understand the ins and outs of those services.

“I’ve definitely had a hard time understanding what’s being offered, so I imagine for someone looking to access those services, they probably have a hard time as well,” she said. “[The Facebook page] is a place for people to come together and talk about these things, find where those gaps are, identify them.”

Plus, her job as an office co-ordinator for design firm Stantec has been slow because of the pandemic, so she had extra time to donate.

She said she has been involved in volunteering and community work since around the time she was 18. One of her first jobs was with the Yukon Council on Disability, which involved a lot of outreach work.

She also sat on the board of White Ribbon Yukon, a men’s group dedicated to stopping violence against women. She said it was good to see men facing that issue. At one point, she organized a men’s slam poetry night themed around consent.

“That was not something that you often see and so to see a bunch of men in the community come together happily to do poetry on consent was a nice change of pace,” she said.

She acknowledged that some women would not be comfortable participating in such a group.

“That’s just my way of dealing with some of the trauma of being a woman, which it has come with trauma, and I think, for me, being active and speaking out is healing,” she said. “Everyone deals with it differently but for me it’s empowering to talk about it and do things about it.”

She said her family loves being in Terrace, though it has been tough to socialize and integrate fully with all the pandemic precautions — something many newcomers to Terrace have dealt with this year.

Willems’ daughter is settling in just fine and just the other day was asking to have a sleepover with a school friend (on a school night, no less.) The little one has been helping out with facilitating donations through the Facebook page.

“She’s really excited to be involved in that and thinks it’s a great thing to be doing so, it’s nice to see her think that way,” Willems said. “She’s offering up bits of her stuff all the time that she wants to give to somebody.”

Willems said her main hobbies are all outdoors, and she hasn’t had a chance to do much of that this year. She’s an avid whitewater kayaker, but her kayak hasn’t made it to Terrace yet so she’s stuck mostly to running (and the weather hasn’t been tremendous this year).

She’s looking forward to learning more about social services in the area and how she can help out, and she hopes more people become involved with the Facebook page.

“It’s beneficial even to those that are helping,” she said. “It feels good to help, and I think we could all use that kind of goodness right now.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jaimie Davis won received a Northwest Community College President’s Art Award in 2018. This year, she won the Best Solopreneur Award from Small Business BC for her online shop Jada Creations. (Contributed photo/Northwest Community College)
Terrace artist wins provincial small business award

Jaimie Davis of Jada Creations won BC Small Business’ Best Solopreneur Award

Chera Bergen (left) with her sisters Hali and Dylan Ouellet (not in the picture) raised money through a bottle drive in Terrace to buy essential supplies for a homeless shelter. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
Terrace sisters’ recycle drive raises money for homeless shelter

With the $1175 raised, Chera, Hali and Dylan bought essential supplies for Ksan Society

A memorial march takes place along Highway 16 also known as Canada’s ‘Highway of Tears’ on national day of awareness of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Over five dozen people from nearby communities joined the march which began outside Terrace City Hall and ended at the memorial totem pole erected along Hwy 16, near Kitsumkalum. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
‘City of Terrace can and should make spaces safer’: MMIWG activists

Activists called on governments to amplify safety net for women on national day of awareness of MMIWG

RCMP are reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings after a stabbing sent a man to hospital on May 4, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace stabbing sends man to hospital

RCMP remind the public to be aware of surroundings

The construction site for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has been cleared. (Binny Paul/The Terrace Standard)
Bird nests key to decision to log hospital site in Terrace

Nests would have posed a risk of increasing costs

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland third behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

Most Read