Thankful to Be Giving Back: Feel the Love Recap
This year, Thanksgiving weekend took on a whole new meaning for us at AtlasCare. As part of Lennox International’s 2020 ‘Feel The Love’ community program, our team members volunteered their time to install a brand-new mini-split ductless HVAC system (and more!) to thank Sharon Ahamad, a deserving frontline worker, for her unending devotion to others.
As an overnight Personal Support Worker for seniors at a Burlington facility, Sharon is often the only constant in her patient’s lives. Some of them suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s, so seeing a familiar face can make a big difference in their days—or in this case, nights. When the pandemic hit, Sharon had to choose between this position and a second job she had because of the risk of infection to patients if you worked two facilities. Sharon chose to stay with her overnight position instead of the higher paying, more secure position at a regional hospital, because it was important to her to keep being a constant in the lives of her patients at the seniors’ facility in Burlington.
When someone like Sharon, who refuses to let others down need help, it’s our duty to help them—and that’s exactly what our team did, and we felt so thankful to be doing so that Thanksgiving weekend.
On Saturday morning, AtlasCare (organizers, team members and volunteers) gathered on Ottawa street in Hamilton, Ontario, where Sharon lives. Before we got to work, our president Michael Grochmal, whose energy and smile was contagious even behind his mask, explained that ‘Feel the Love’ was so much bigger than what we were doing here today. More than 250 other contractors throughout North America were doing exactly what we were about to do. He explained that Lennox International, the company that started ‘Feel The Love’ back in 2009, wanted to find a very deserving frontline worker who helped their community this year during COVID. And because AtlasCare is always there when you need us, from helping you with your home comfort or giving back to the community, it was a no-brainer for us to partner with Lennox.
Dylan Parry, a representative from Lennox International, shared his thoughts about how “AtlasCare is the absolute definition of what we want in a partner, and by extension you guys and the amount of effort you put in, and we can’t thank you enough… This is going to be a great day.”
Because of the current COVID restrictions, only a small number of people could work on site at once. Michael made sure to mention the many more team members at AtlasCare who would have loved to volunteer but had to stay home so we were following the province’s guidelines. “We couldn’t do this without the people who actually know how to do the work. This group over here, who are the professionals, who donated their time,” he finished, before introducing the person we were all there for: Sharon Ahamad.
“Thank you,” she said, emotionally. “I really appreciate it. Thank you for being here, to help.” Her nominator and long-time friend, Sharon Mathew, came to support her, as did her neighbours and some of her colleagues from the Seniors’ facility. It was clear that being able to help Sharon, someone who even while struggling herself made it her personal mission to be there for others, was a truly heartwarming occasion not only for our team, but also for everyone else in her life.
Over the course of the day, AtlasCare workers were busy installing new ductless equipment for heating and air conditioning, after which they completely cleaned and serviced the boiler, replacing aged parts, which was the first time her boiler had been serviced in 6 years. Then AtlasCare went over and above by calling in their plumbers to fix all the plumbing issues in her home. This last step wouldn’t have been possible without the generous help of Independent Mechanical Supply in Oakville who donated the plumbing materials.
While giving back to the community definitely filled us with Thanksgiving spirit, the event was made even more festive with the food we were surprised with. Lennox brought in breakfast from Pickle Barrel for the 35 of us, and the Tim Horton’s on 65 Ottawa Street N., Hamilton––which you might know better as the original Tim Horton’s location—generously donated coffee for everyone.
Looking back at all the work everyone did to make this Saturday happen, we realized how big of an undertaking this was. It took over 5 months of preparation for us, as we searched the communities we serve in the GTA for deserving people who made it their mission to help others even in their own times of need. Our customers, the community at large, local politicians, and charities stepped up to the plate and brought forth 13 incredibly worthy nominations, but it was when we met with Sharon Ahamad, visited her home and listened to her story that we knew she was the one we needed to help the most.
Sharon—thank you for all you do for others. We hope that on Thanksgiving weekend, you felt as supported by us as your patients do by, well, you!
To view more behind the scenes footage and CHCH news coverage of the event, visit our recent Instagram post by clicking here.