Toronto Police Service (TPS) Auxiliary officer Simratpal Soodan was eager to lend a hand to efforts to help people in Burma and Nepal.
He wrapped skids filled with water filters and hygienic packages for flood and landslide stricken areas in Burma and Nepal, on August 27, as part of a GlobalMedic initiative alongside fellow auxiliaries, Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) members and other volunteers who spent nearly eight hours packing supplies on behalf of the Canadian international aid organization.
An Auxiliary member for a year, assigned to the Divisional Policing Support Unit, Soodan said he was happy to volunteer his time.
“When there is a need, we just don’t help those in our community but also those abroad,” said Soodan, a security officer at Credit Valley Hospital. “I am just so glad to pitch in seven hours today for a good cause.”
Superintendent Debra Preston, the co-chair of the Toronto Police Asia-Pacific Community Consultative Committee (APCCC), joined the Auxiliaries and YIPIs at GlobalMedic headquarters in the city’s west end after being asked by the Burmese Cultural Association of Ontario, which has representation on the committee
“When I made the call to DPSU to provide support, they didn’t hesitate. To see the YIPIs and Auxiliaries smiling and working together is satisfying and amazing. I heard of GlobalMedic before, and the wonderful work they do, but this is the first time I have seen them in action. It’s so heart-warming,” said Preston, who works with APCCC members to connect police with Asian communities in Toronto.
Ryerson University second-year student Gajanan Raveendran, who worked with this year’s YIPI class, was excited to be part of the volunteer effort.
“For me, there is nothing better than representing Toronto Police and giving back to the community,” said Raveendram, who graduated from the YIPI program three years ago.
Matt Capobianco, GlobalMedic’s deputy director, welcomed the TPS participation.
“It’s all about community integration and awareness,” he said. “When we have police come out to an event like this, and show their support for the communities we are working with, it’s simply gratifying.”
The TPS representatives help build, assemble and pack 900 household water purifiers shipped to Burma and another 1,250 sent to Nepal. They also assisted with the packaging of toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap.
“With the close to 100 volunteers that helped us today, about 1,400 people will get access to clean drinking water as a result of their assistance,” added Capobianco.
Heavy monsoon rain has caused massive flooding in Burma.
“There has been very little coverage here in Canada about what is taking place in the land of our birth and we are so grateful to the police for coming out and assisting us to send basic supplies back to that country,” said Dr. Hla Wynn, of the Burma Canadian Association of Ontario.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25, and another powerful quake on May 12, together killed nearly 8,700 people and injured 16,800 others in Nepal.
GlobalMedic has reached over 30,000 people in Nepal since April.