Becky Wood has experienced need first-hand. She knows how much it means to receive much-needed help.
That’s what makes the friends behind the Facebook group GIVE Midland so good at what they do.
“All of us have had struggles at times and had to use resources,” says Wood about the women behind GIVE Midland.
When Wood saw the success of GIVE Orillia — a similar Facebook group based in Orillia — she wanted to provide a similar safe space for those in need in Midland and the area.
The community responded immediately and have helped fill the needs of many people and their families in the last few years.
Wood started GIVE Midland just before the pandemic in January 2020, and says the page has been well-used since day one.
GIVE Midland has helped people find shelter, food, and fill their most basic needs, she explained with pride.
“When someone comes to us with a need for food, we discuss all the resources available, including local food banks, and more,” explains Wood.
“If people still need help after they’ve accessed those resources we will help. If you need help, we will help you,” she says.
“The main goal is to provide a space where you can come to ask for help without any judgment,” says the natural do-gooder.
Wood made it clear that the success of the group is due to the support of her friends and family. Her husband and children — ages 5, 9 and 12 — regularly help with organizing and distributing donated items.
While there are now three other administrators that help gather supplies and distribute what is needed, at the beginning Wood worked alone. Now, she counts Julieann LePage, Angela Brown, and Samantha Daigle as some of her best friends.
There are a few moments that stand out for Wood as proof that their service makes a difference in people’s lives.
GIVE Midland was contacted by the mother of a young autistic boy that was being bullied at school. The mother needed something to lift her child’s spirits. With an interest in art, GIVE Midland provided the child with art supplies.
“We surprised him, and his face lit up,” says Wood.
Wood uses these success stories as motivation that keep her and the group going.
In another instance of someone finding the support they lacked, Wood remembers giving her old tent to a homeless couple. With the help of an Orillia charity called Uplifting Blessings, GIVE Midland provided the couple with sleeping bags and food.
Over the years, with the continued support of GIVE Midland, the woman has started her own business and is now housed.
Of all the people Wood and GIVE Midland have helped, she stays grounded because she feels there is always someone in need.
“We don’t realize how much need there is,” she says.
“One time I dropped off food to a family and all they had in their house was mattresses on the floor. I left there crying,” says Wood.
The group also put together Christmas baskets with food and toys for the holiday and distributed to those people that expressed a need. There’s no vetting process.
“I would rather help someone that doesn’t need help than not help someone that does need it,” says Wood about how they help whomever asks.
“It’s all about building a community where we could help each other,” explains Wood about the work she and her friends do every day for the community.
“We all have jobs, and families,” says Wood. That’s important to note, because people often feel like they don’t have time to volunteer, she said.
“I think there should be (a GIVE group) in every community.”
To offer your support, donate, or to simply give away anything you don’t need, join the GIVE Midland group on Facebook.