Summer Travel 2020

Summer travel in the time of COVID-19. Do you have plans in place? Are you desperate to hit the open road, or is the plan to stay close to home?

Whatever your process, the present normal of intentionality, care, and health have likely affected you.

Cross-border travel continues to be in question. Furthermore, road travel between provinces is a bit of a puzzler. With some of us masking-up, sanitizing, and isolating while others go about their business as usual, there is much uncertainty about how to interact with holiday time.

What we know for sure

Summer travel is sure to be disrupted by a few key factors. What we know for sure...is that we don't know anything for sure!

First, be prepared for unusual road closures. Some provinces continue to keep roads closed. There are towns that restrict visitation, and others that will allow only residents.

There is an ebb and flow to the way COVID-19 does its thing. For that reason, unpredictable (or, even predictable ones, for that matter!) spikes could result in you being stalled in your journey. Have your car stocked and ready for limited access to amenities.

All that hand washing you're doing at home? Be ready to ramp that up. Keep in mind that some stores may insist on masks, and not all roadside locations will be open for business.

What happens on the other side

Returning home from summer travel is another thing to consider. The broader your exposure to your fellow Canadians, the higher your chance of exposure to sickness. Consider your circle of contact upon returning home: is your possible contact with the virus going to put others in danger?

While these are limiting and frustrating considerations it may serve well to err on the side of care this summer.

When camping in the yard is a thing

As you've, no doubt, considered, summer travel in 2020 may be a lot more effort than it's worth. Here's to creativity and ingenuity rising to meet the challenge! Perhaps you have already come up with an inspiration that will find you and your loved ones enjoying every moment of the season? Is this the year to make friends with pitching a tent in the back yard? Could exploring the wonders nearby bring new appreciation for what's at hand?

For more on how to sort your summer, check out CTV News. The National Post encourages you in your "staycation" plans. Even more detailed is the Global News guidance on what various provinces and airlines are up to.

Whatever your summer travel plans, we wish you good health and the freedom to connect with the ones you love!

Best Charities: Coronavirus

The best charities to support during the ebb and flow of Coronavirus ripple effects are in sight. Savvy Canadian donors do their research. They are careful in selecting who they donate to. We want our charities to run efficiently. Well managed with modest, defensible overhead is a must. Moreover, a charity should touch into our lives personally.

Your decision to donate your vehicle has come with thought and care. Choosing the charity that will receive the monies from that effort poses a unique challenge.

This is an easy decision for some: we give from the heart to the causes that make our hearts leap! Where the money goes is top-of-mind for others. Above all, give where there will be the best bang for our giving buck.

Maclean's on who, what, why

Maclean's ezine article, "Coronavirus: Where to donate and how to help Canada's most vulnerable," offers concise and valuable direction. If you're looking to donate specifically to needs arising from the pandemic, this article will help!

Many of the charities noted in on their break-out lists are charities that we work to support daily. Note the Canadian Mental Health Association, The Salvation Army, and Food Banks Canada. These are on the short-list for monetary donation. Further, SOS Children's Villages and Kids Help Phone are high on the list.

Concerned for the personal safety of women and children in violent domestic situations, consider donating. The Canadian Women's Foundation, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, and your own local shelter need you.

Similarly, we have seen how aggressively COVID-19 has impacted our Canadian seniors. The Alzheimer Society in your province needs your giving dollars now.

Canadians are all affected

As you'll see in the Maclean's article, these quick acknowledgments skim the surface. We should state that impact has rippled to all sectors of our society. Consider gifting indigenous causes, or, turn your attention toward those with special needs. 'Just plum tuckered out thinking about your fellow human? Why not consider a gift to any of our animal charities? It will be welcome!

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Wisdom in Troubled Times

Wisdom is never violent: where wisdom reigns there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.

Carl Jung

But, I'm right!

Wisdom

Global events demand the attention of each one of us. We have strong opinions. Such firm beliefs. Furthermore, we are right! I am right. You are right. We have reasons that are good enough for us - every one of us - that to refuse to adapt, or change, or grow.

Good enough reasons to protest. Reasons that are strong enough that we won't protest. Ideologies and understandings that demand attention. It is so very important that I be right.

For this reason, and a thousand others, we squabble with and shame and harm one another. And we each claim wisdom in the moment of heated action or argument. Equally, we argue understanding through inaction and passivity.

Is that really all there is to it?

Thomas Merton says that compassion is the acceptance of the interconnectedness of all things. So , the state of my heart is reflected in the condition of the world. This may be for peace, or for strife. It could be for goodness, or for greed. Perhaps it will be for love, but it could just as easily be for judgement.

In a wildly disrupted time (pandemic, human rights upheaval, economic disparity, and so on and on!), we have actual control over very little. Really? We have control over one thing: our Self. Who we will be. How we will be. What if your way of being has a ripple effect? What might you determine that effect to be?

For today, we here at Donate a Car Canada will continue to hold to our intention of providing exceptional donor and charity care in a wobbly world. Hands steady-at-the-scrap-car-wheel. Aiming for wisdom and compassion. And this despite our (considerable) differences of thought, belief, and certitude! We're all in this together.

Allergy Season

Allergy season is here. I know this because my eyeballs feel like they have fur. My nose is twitching (in a most un-bewitching way). And the tickle in my perpetually raw throat has me asking, "Is this COVID?!"

Allergies in a pandemic are a right puzzler! Am I symptomatic? A danger to my fellow humans? Should I be confined to bed (my fuzzy head and leaden limbs tell me I should definitely be in bed)? Or, am I just at odds with the life that's stirring in the earth and trees and such?

You're allergic to Spring when...

Allergy Season

Does this make your nose itch?

Allergy Season2

Are your teeth feeling the pollen in the air?

If so, you might have allergies!

The Science

Asthma Canada notes,

  • Respiratory allergies such as allergic rhinitis affect 1 in 5 Canadians
  • 80% of people with asthma also suffer from allergic rhinitis or sinusitis
  • Allergies can affect your quality of life at work, school, and play

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Health Link helpfully instructs,

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose.
  • Temporary loss of smell.
  • Headache and fatigue.
  • Dark circles under the eyes ("allergic shiners").
  • Drainage from the nose down the back of the throat (post-nasal drip).
  • Sore throat or coughing.
  • Snoring.

How can you help prevent seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are often caused by exposure to pollen. You can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

  • Keeping your house and car windows closed.
  • Limiting the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high (during midday and afternoon).
  • Wearing a pollen mask or dust mask if you need to mow the lawn.
  • Limiting your mowing tasks if you can.
  • Rinsing your eyes with cool water or saline eyedrops to remove clinging pollen after you come indoors.
  • Taking a shower and changing your clothes after you work or play outside.

How can you treat seasonal allergies?

The following home treatment measures may help relieve your symptoms:

  • Clean the inside of your nose with salt water to clear a stuffy nose.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom and take hot showers to help clear a stuffy nose.
  • If your nose is red and raw from rubbing, put petroleum jelly on the sore area.
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medicine to help your symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • To relieve a stuffy nose, use a steroid nasal spray (such as Nasacort). A steroid nasal spray can also help with red, itchy, watery eyes.
    • Another way to relieve a stuffy nose is a nasal or oral decongestant (such as Sudafed PE). Decongestants may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems.
    • For itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; or a runny, itchy nose, try a non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, like fexofenadine (such as Allegra) or loratadine (such as Claritin). Older antihistamines, like chlorpheniramine (such as Chlor-Tripolon) and diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl), are less expensive but can make you feel sleepy or tired. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
    • To help relieve pain, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Stuck indoors during allergy season

COVID will affect exposure to seasonal allergies. Many of us are restricting our outdoor movements already. If you're like me, you're making steady use of your Claritin when you do venture out. And we can agree that a few seasonal discomforts aren't really all that bad in light of what we might be facing. Here's to clear airways and sturdy health!

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Good Customer Service

Good customer service is the go-to for Canadian business.
How does that land with you? 'Too strong a statement? Maybe you have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the service industry. Or, if you're a lucky gal like me, you encounter good to exceptional service everywhere you go.

Chilling on the 'phone

We are in unprecedented times (I believe that's the new buzz word? And an apt one it is!). Every service we attempt to access is embroiled in a new business normal. If you're deemed essential, you're working like a drone. 'Probably for less pay. Furthermore, you're punching in hours and rolling out results just as quickly as you can type, haul, drive, teach, ring-up, or cheerily choke out one more, "Good afternoon! How may I help you today?"

Like you, I've spent more time on hold in the past few weeks than I'd spent in the past several years combined. So many hours spent (musac pulsing in my offended ears) waiting for my essential server to assist. And assist they have. Every time. Knowledgeably, kindly, and efficiently...if a bit wearily.

In most recent days, I've had the chance to be the one offering a service on that same phone. I'm the one you've grown to dread: the telemarketer! Well, not exactly. I'm not selling anything at all. But I have been cold-calling area mechanics to let them know we're here to help. We can haul junkers from their properties quick-as-quick, and for free. Regardless of what's on offer, cold-calling is not always equated with good customer service!

Above the crowd

In reaching out to hundreds of Calgary businesses I've noticed some stand-out responses. Good customer service begins with that first "Hello! *insert company name here*, Bill speaking..." A gal can tell right off the hop if she's encountered a professional. I hear the layers of busy, work-weary, bored, and disinterested. Moreover, I know if you're placating me, or if you care about me as a caller.

A hang-up, "Click!" is rarely the answer to my offer of free tow support on behalf of our 900+ Canadian charities. "I don't have time for this!" is an occasional, frazzled response. But most often, in this deliciously polite country of ours, those busy mechanics hear me out. They ask questions. They express interest in receiving information for their customers (because what we provide their business will only help the people they serve every day).

In Calgary, two companies stand out as offering extraordinary care over the phone. These shops are clearly busy, but their calls are answered with patience, curiosity, and genuine interest. Who are these staff-who-made-my-job-a-joy? Auto Pro (you name the location, they're wonderful!), and OK Tire. OK Tire, particularly, made a mundane task feel like a purposeful and important gig.

While we can't speak to their car repair services, I know with certainty that they have good customer service on offer at the switchboard. That's no small thing in strangely tired and stressed-out times.

Your free tow

'Interested in taking advantage of our free tow support for yourself? Check us out...

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Stollery Children’s Hospital

The Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation (SCHF) is a frequently-gifted charity. We're currently working with over 900 others to raise ongoing donations, too! Recently the SCHF reached out to give us a little update on our partnership.

How it all adds up

Our more well-known charities pack quite a punch in inspiring donations. It's not unusual for the most broadly known to draw five or six digit figures over the course of a year. This past year, the Stollery Children's Hospital was one of those charities!

This past year alone, vehicles like yours contributed to a total of $34, 892.00 being gifted to the hospitalthrough Donate a Car Canada.

Why this matters

Our contact at the SCHF sent us this gentle reminder of how your donation dollars impact real children:

"Madelyn was born with a serious heart problem. At only seven days old, doctors at the Stollery performed open-heart surgery on her tiny heart. Her heart was just the size of a walnut. Now two years old, Madelyn has survived two heart surgeries and is awaiting her third. She continues to grow and hit milestone after milestone at home.
Thank you for helping the Stollery care for kids like Madelyn – it’s incredibly inspiring to know that you continue to think of others during what has proven to be a difficult time for us all. Because of you, we can make sure the Stollery’s front-line caregivers have the support and specialized equipment they need to continue delivering urgent, critical care
to those who need it most. Together, we can give kids from backyards across Alberta and beyond the best chance to live a long and healthy life."

Joanna Begg Pattison, BA
Senior Manager, Community Initiatives
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

Find out more

'Curious about what else is happening at the SCHF? Check out the Stollery web site for so many details about their mission and their patients. Interested in donating your car to help in their ongoing efforts to help vulnerable kids? We can help with that!

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Peace in a Pandemic

Finding peace in a disrupted time is tough. For many of our receiving charities, that's they're work-a-day gig. They companion people in disrupted life circumstances.

What is peace, anyway?

The word peace may mean something different to you than it does to me. For some, peace is a feeling of calm, or the absence of conflict. Some people experience peace as the lack of any emotion at all. Others feel at peace when they have a sense of control in their lives.

I've come to identify peace as a quiet heart. Sometimes that means a feeling of spaciousness in my mind, heart, or even body. Another way of describing that is the ability to take a deep, deep breath -- a feeling of relaxation and permission even when circumstances are very difficult.

That seems to be an important thing about peace? It is a sense of rightness, quiet, or well-being even when things all around are wobbling. Maybe even downright awful.

Can I find calm...even now?

What has the COVID-19 Pandemic been like for you? Are you having difficult finding peace in the midst of global fear? There are resources near you that can give you a little back-up if that's what you need. Seek them out. Your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are worth the effort.

You may be someone who has had a gentle experience of this unprecedented upheaval. If so, might you be one who offers peace to others? You may be one of the helpers. If so, thank you! Please take care of your Self while you're reaching out to others. And if you're having moments when a quiet heart is illusive, reach out for your own supports, ok? We need you to keep getting your own cup filled up so that you can continue to share with others.

What DACC is doing to help

Here at Donate a Car Canada we continue to work through this crisis time to aid Canadian charities in their ongoing work. Sometimes cool cash is the best way to bring calm into the midst of a storm. Part of our role in all of this is to keep right on processing vehicle donations. Those donations result in the much-needed dollars our charities depend on to keep purveying goodness in our hurting world. Thank you for considering how you might be a part of that!

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Peaceful Parenting

Parenting in an a new normal

What has this past month been like for you? If you're the parent of school-aged children you may be feeling a lot of pressure these days. Some of you are working from home while hands-on parenting. Home schooling used to be the practice of a minority (myself included), and is now the norm. If you have a child with special needs or learning challenges, you may have added complications.

Are you finding support in all of that? There are resources available to you. Do seek them out. This is a time for asking for what we need, and leaning into available resources.

Kim Golding on peaceful parenting

My colleague forwarded this on to me just yesterday. It's from Kim S. Golding, 2015, with an added acknowledgement of Clover Childcare, Norfolk.

This gentle 7-step guide may be a helpful resource for all of us as parents? First, it offers a reminder for us to take a minute to check in with our self when facing into a parenting conundrum. "Calm begets calm; peace begets peace." So say parenting specialists. That calm begins with us as parents. Take a look at this:

That trusty oxygen mask

The well-worn metaphor of the oxygen mask on the airplane applies here: Mom? Dad? Take your own deep breaths first. Then tend to your kiddo.

One of my practice instructors has patiently reminded me, "When we change the dialogue with which we speak to our self, we'll change the way we speak to others. As we transform inwardly, we'll change outwardly." What does she mean by that? Be nice!

This is the time to be "excessively gentle" (John O'Donohue) with ourselves. And as we turn compassion inward, we'll find ourselves more able to be patient and understanding outwardly.

May peaceful parenting bring about peaceful kiddos in a decidedly un-peaceful time in history. You've got this! And where you need back-up? Reach out. You are not alone.

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“Self-isolation” and other new normals

Self-isolation. Quarantine. Social distancing. COVID-19. Home school. PPE. The language and practice of our times has shifted forever. Virtually overnight, we've adopted a new set of priorities (toilet paper!). Our vernacular includes words that we had little frame of reference for when the calendar flipped to 2020.

Living in our Sci-Fi-like world

What has it been like for you to suddenly face into a world where masks, gloves, and empty grocery shelves are commonplace? Are you doing well?

In my other life I have a unique "job": I listen for a living. Not as a therapist or counselor, but as one who holds story and asks questions. Challenging questions. Questions that help us to sink deeply into the mysteries and fears and wonderments of life. "Why is there suffering?" "What can I do about feeling completely overwhelmed?" "Is grief a form of mental illness?" "Am I broken?" "Is there a God? And if there is...what the heck is going on here?!"

The weird and wobbly shift we're experiencing globally burbles those questions to the surface for some of us. When getting in a car and driving to run an errand feels like you've landed in a B-grade pandemic movie...well...it can get the curiosity about the deep things stirring.

Boredom...and overwhelm

Do you have the sense that we're living in an altered reality of extremes? Those who are isolated alone, without work or resources, facing into unrelenting boredom. Others who, overnight, began juggling full-time work, hands and eyes-on parenting, and pandemic fears. Seniors with loved ones desperately reaching toward them; elderly feeling abandoned and fated to fall sick...alone. Essential workers grinding out hours of minimum-wage labor in the face of moment-by-moment risk of illness. Helpers (so many many many helpers) working flat-out to heal, relieve, come alongside suffering.

Where do you land on the spectrum? Are you okay? Maybe you feel this is all a hoax and you're just weary of the news reel. Perhaps you're grateful for the relief that the demand that you remain at home has brought into your overworked, over-extended life?

We're all in this together

However we're experiencing this wildly disruptive upheaval, we're all in it. Those of us that have enough food to eat and a place to shelter (in self-isolation...with, or without loved ones) may come through this quite comfortably. Many will suffer much more intently. There are speed bumps to getting medication, mental health care, financial aid, and the critical social contact of human touch. Some families are sardine-canned into tiny living spaces. Some rough and rocky relationships are unsafely confined behind closed windows and doors.

Our entire charity roster has taken a tremendous hit as everyone collectively holds their breath. As many of us clutch our wallets and resources close: what if I need what I have? What if there isn't enough to go around? I feel this shift in myself, absolutely. Where I might typically give without thinking? Now, I think carefully and do the math slowly.

When giving money and groceries isn't an option

Donate a Car Canada continues to work on behalf of almost 1,000 Canadian charities. If you need more space in your garage to create a little distance between you and your self-isolating loved ones, consider donating that recycle-ready car through our program! Clear the driveway. Clean out that back patch in the yard that's been cradling your, "I promise I'm gonna' fix it up one day!" old collector. We can help you reach toward the cause you love!

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COVID-19

COVID-19 has now reached pandemic classification according to the World Health Organization. Visit their site for informative videos and instructions on how to interact with this concern in your area.

The live numbers

If you're curious about tracking the spread of actual numbers affected by this virus, Worldometer, and GIS and Data are both helpful resources.

Clicking on either of these links will bring you to clear information about which countries are encountering the illness directly. They note the number of active cases, actual deaths, and overall counts via graphs and other graphics.

What should I do if I think I'm sick?

CALL 811 (do not go to an emergency room).

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing and have travelled outside Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, stay home and call Health Link 811. If you are not seriously ill, do not go to a physician’s office, a health care facility or a lab without consulting with Health Link 811 first. Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention and inform them that you may have COVID-19.

What is self-isolation

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care, athletic events, university, faith-based gatherings, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and all public gatherings.

You should, (where possible) not use public transportation including buses, taxis, or ride sharing.

As much as possible, you should limit contact with people other than the family members/companions who you travelled with.

You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

You can also use delivery or pick up services for errands such as grocery shopping.

Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.

Wash your hands often with soap and water and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched and shared surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.

If you need to leave your home for an urgent errand, such as picking up essential medication, as a precaution to reduce risk of spread, you should wear a surgical mask while you are out.

During this time, it is important that you monitor your health for symptoms like fever or cough, and call Health Link 811 if you have any concerns.

How can I protect myself?

To help protect against all respiratory illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19, you should:

Wash your hands often and well. Refer to hand-washing guidance here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page14955.aspx

Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. o Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill

When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands. Refer to respiratory etiquette guidance here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page14511.aspx