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Hub for Good

Meet Joanna Pozzulo, a Carleton professor and chair of the Department of Psychology. Recently, Joanna took it upon herself to encourage members of the Carleton community to come together in support of Ottawa families in need.

Following Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s April 27 briefing, Joanna realized that our community—and the world—would likely not be returning to the status quo any time soon. “While watching the briefing, I thought to myself: ‘this is going to be a long haul,’” she recalls.

Instead of letting that daunting realization dampen her spirits, she allowed it to energize her. She turned her focus outward and thought ‘how can I help?’

Joanna quickly reached out to her Department of Psychology colleagues June Callender, departmental administrator, and Lea Hamilton, administrative assistant, to share some ideas.

“As we talked through the different ways in which we could help out and the organizations we could support, we kept coming back to the Ottawa Food Bank. It really resonated with us all. Everyone needs to eat. Without a pay cheque, some of the most basic human needs—like putting food on the table—can become challenging,” Joanna explains.

“I originally planned on making an individual donation to the Food Bank. But then I thought: ‘I can do better.’”

As the Department of Psychology is one of the largest departments at Carleton, Joanna saw an opportunity to rally the Carleton community in order to make a large collective impact.

After discussing with a colleague in the Department of University Advancement—who shared guidance on how to best work with the Ottawa Food Bank—Joanna invited all members of the Department of Psychology to participate in a joint donation to the Food Bank.

“As I am sure all of you have been seeing on the news and feeling yourselves, these are tough, strange times, and there are a lot of people who are feeling the strain. One consistent message that I have been seeing, though, is that everyone is in this together,” Joanna says in her email to the department.

“In the spirit of coming together, and to support our community, I would like to make a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank on behalf of the Department of Psychology. I hope that we can come together to spread a bit of kindness.”

The responses, Joanna says, have been overwhelming and positive.

“It’s clear that people want to help. I hope that anyone who can make a donation—no matter how small—will participate. If everyone gives just a little bit, it could mean that no one will go hungry tonight. That collective potential is powerful.”

Despite this inspiring message, Joanna and her team recognize that not everyone will be able to contribute.

“These are tough times and it’s completely understandable that not everyone will be in the financial position to make a donation. One thing that many of us do seem to have, though, is time,” Joanna muses. “We can use that time to check on an elderly neighbour who lives alone, call a relative who may not be adept with video conferencing technology or offer to pick up someone’s medication, groceries or other essential items. There are many ways to offer support that don’t cost a thing.”

For her part, Joanna is following the social distancing guidelines, using technology to stay connected with loved ones and sharing tips for making face masks.

Joanna maintains that a great way to cope is to ask how you can help. “Doing something nice for others has made me feel better about the situation. I’m not sure when or how all of this will resolve, but in the meantime, we can show kindness to others and lift each other up. I am so grateful to be part of an amazing community who truly care about each other.”

If you’d like to participate in the joint donation to the Ottawa Food Bank, click here (and be sure to indicate ‘Department of Psychology – Carleton University’ under the organization name).

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