Small steps for big chagne

Megan Walchuk

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter.
Because sometimes, they grow into something bigger than we could have imagined.
This Sunday morning, a small group of volunteers gathered well before dawn, to begin a 35 km walk from Manitou Rapids to Fort Frances. The suffering caused by both breast cancer and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women moved James Eastman into action. He would have gone alone if he needed to. But by the day of the event, he was joined by a handful of others who walked the road alongside him. Still others joined to be escort drivers, or to offer pledges, water and snacks. This year, it was a small handful of walkers. But we look forward to seeing it grow in the future.
In Rainy River, a fun idea between friends has exploded into a major fundraiser, and undoubtedly a new Halloween tradition. A small group of friends imagined a spooky walk in the woods for Halloween. The idea quickly snowballed, and now a small army of volunteers are staging sold out showings of Trails of Terror.
Not every great idea needs to be grandiose to make a difference. Early in the pandemic, while shelves were virtually bare from hoarding, one resident used his own surplus cash to buy groceries for the neediest households in his community. He dropped them on doorsteps, contact-free, before that term had even taken root. Within days, he was joined by others, who pooled their money to help even more households. He refused to be interviewed by the Times about it – he didn’t want to be seen as attention seeking – but his small gesture helped dozens of households weather those grim early days of COVID-19.
Even our service clubs have stepped up. The Legion Ladies Auxiliary board has reinvented nearly every event they hold, to survive COVID. They’ve re-imagined their monthly suppers into frozen meals, and relaunched an in-person gala as a virtual pyjama party.
All of these people had one thing in common – they all acted on an idea. It would have been easier to take a hiatus and blame it on the virus. Instead, they got up and took one step forward, and then took another. And inevitably, others got up and followed.
All it takes to start something amazing is to stand up and take that first step.