Creator of Halifax 'caremongering' group calls for acts of kindness after COVID

·2 min read
Amber Tucker created the Caremongering-Hfx Facebook group last March to help Nova Scotians support each other in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Amber Tucker - image credit)
Amber Tucker created the Caremongering-Hfx Facebook group last March to help Nova Scotians support each other in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Amber Tucker - image credit)

A Facebook group dedicated to supporting Nova Scotians during the pandemic is closing up shop, but its creator hopes people will keep stepping up to help others.

Amber Tucker created Caremongering-Hfx: Halifax-area community response to COVID-19 last March, modelled after similar groups in Ontario. Members could ask for help, donate supplies or services, and offer advice and emotional support.

"It was meant to provide a sense of safety when everything else felt so unsafe," Tucker told CBC Radio's Information Morning.

Requests ranged from immunocompromised people needing help with errands to posting resources to keep kids busy during lockdown, Tucker said. One member even stepped up to bring a little boy a birthday cake.

By the time the Facebook page was officially archived on Feb. 24, there were more than 11,000 members.

Stopping spread of misinformation

Tucker said it was heartwarming to see so many strangers come together to help each other, whether it was by providing services or offering moral support.

In the early days, the group's admin team also did a lot of damage control when it came to rumours and misinformation about COVID-19, said Marine Decaillet, one of the group's administrators.

Decaillet, a cultural anthropologist, previously spent two years working on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and wrote a thesis on the management of rumours during that epidemic.

"I'm trying to monitor and provide information to people so that they could accurately stay safe," she said.

Decaillet and Tucker worked full time while managing the group, a balance Decaillet called "extremely intense."

"It was a little overwhelming … we discovered burnout in a different way, but it was also a really rewarding part of the work," Decaillet said.

'Spirit of mutual aid'

Almost 11 months after creating Caremongers-Hfx, Tucker said the time has passed for the need to maintain the group and all the work that goes into it.

With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the low case numbers in Nova Scotia, she said a lot of the recent activity in the group hasn't been as focused on pandemic-related needs.

"There's still community help going on, which is amazing. We really want people to continue doing that work in different forums now that we all kind of have the idea and the spirit of mutual aid," Tucker said.

Both Tucker and Decaillet said they plan to spend less time on social media now that Caremongering-Hfx has closed. Tucker plans to focus her volunteer efforts on housing justice, and Decaillet hopes to help migrants get settled in the province.

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