It's The Little Things ... Serving Indigenous Families

Imagine this:

You're a 20 year old mother of 2.  You've grown up in a tiny town hundreds of kilometers from the nearest city.  

Without warning, your youngest child has a medical emergency.  You quickly make the decision to leave your older child in the care of a relative, and fly into one of the biggest cities in the country.

While your younger child is being cared for by the doctors and nurses, you realize that don't have any money.  Someone is supposed to find a place for you to stay, but that could take another day or two.  Besides, you don't want to leave your child's side in the hospital room.  So instead, you curl up on a chair for the night, while trying to ignore the fact that you haven't eaten since the day before.

You don't know anyone in this city.  The doctors and nurses are all pre-occupied and very busy, and it seems there is no one to ask for food or help.

You text an update to your cousin back home.  

Thankfully he knows someone in the city who can help ...

For the past several years, I've been volunteering with a group called Heart to Heart. 

Heart to Heart serves in remote Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario, Canada, as well as a First Nation in Southern Ontario.  

With pre-existing relationships and contacts in each community, our teams fly in and provide whatever the community has requested.  Over the years, our teams have provided ministry training, parenting training, mental health seminars, suicide prevention help, child care, youth ministry, prayer nights, home visits and so much more.

Over time, a need has arisen for support for families travelling from remote communities to Southern Ontario to receive significant medical care.  That's when the Hospital Ministry branch of Heart to Heart was formed.

From the Heart to Heart website:

"When families from remote communities in Northern Ontario need specialized medical care,

they are often flown to city centers in and around the Greater Toronto Area.

Sometimes they aren't able to pack clothing, toiletries, snacks or comfort items to bring with them.

Our heart is to ease the burden of practical necessities,

so that families can concentrate on medical treatment and healing."

While I'm not close enough to the city to support and help advocate for families in the hospitals in person, I have enjoyed the opportunity to help from a distance.  Here's how:

When J, our Heart to Heart team member that lives close to the hospital, first meets up with a parent and child that have just been flown in, she often finds that they haven't had a chance to eat all day, and may have come without much in the way of personal belongings.  

She helps them get ahold of what's needed, whether it's food, a toothbrush, feminine necessities or clothing, along with a listening ear and a supportive voice as they speak with doctors and nurses.

These necessities often come out of J's personal funds, so I've been assisting by assembling some of the more common needed items, and packaging them in backpacks.  This way J can quickly and easily grab one on her way out to meet a new family.

Here's what we try to include in each backpack:

  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • shampoo, conditioner
  • comb
  • soap, moisturizer
  • pads/tampons
  • kleenex
  • notepad & pen
  • wordsearch or puzzle book
  • snacks: granola bars, oatmeal, ramen noodles, fruit leather, etc
  • drinks: bottled water, juice boxes, coffee, tea

Some of the other things we collect:

  • new adult-sized blankets
  • diapers, wipes
  • brand-new baby clothes

I make sure that everything is brand new and unused, because we want to take good care of these families.

I package it all up in new backpacks to deliver to J.  It's been such a rewarding way to be a part of what she is doing on the frontlines!

If this is something you'd like to help with, check out the expanded list on the Heart to Heart website here.


Ready to help?  
Join our private group for updates, photos and current needs: 



  1. What an awful situation for families to be in, sounds like Heart to Heart does some incredible work

  2. It is nice to be able to provide some support when times are tough. This sounds like a great way to help out.

  3. It’s a really great way to provide support 👍🏻

  4. It's a wonderful resource that promotes inclusivity and appreciation for Indigenous cultures.

  5. What an amazing organization! I would love to work with this group.

  6. Amazing resource and organizing is very important. Someday Id love to work with this group.


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