The Spark After the Fire

Apr. 6, 2020


A middle-of-the-night fire at a Canadian senior home compounded challenges that already existed because of COVID-19. Flames tore through the New Waterford seniors complex in Nova Scotia late last month. It left many elderly residents with nothing but the clothes on their backs.


The Red Cross had a plan to help: victims of the fire would be given debit cards to help replenish basic needs, but COVID-19 risks prevented this group of senior citizens from venturing out to shop for them. Karen Hawkins, store manager at Store 3100, found out about it within hours.

“The people who were affected by the fire were most at risk. They felt uncomfortable asking these elderly people who were affected by this fire to come into our store,” said Karen. She saw an opportunity and sprang into action. “I said ‘Get me the list, I’ll send it to my store, and we’ll get it all together for you.’” 


Karen enlisted the help of store associates. They quickly went through the list, filled a few carts and by Sunday night the items were delivered to the group of victims at their temporary hotel. The associates who did the shopping ended up staying after their scheduled shift to get it all done. It’s the latest example of inspirational team members answering a much-needed call to action.

“The team feels very empowered. They know how important their role is right now.”
— Karen Hawkins, Store Manager
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