Funke was 32 weeks pregnant when she moved to Canada from Nigeria with her four-year-old daughter.
“I was alone, in a new country and without a car, so you can imagine how hard it was,” says Funke, whose husband planned to join her when his work ended in 18 months. “It was so overwhelming, and I hadn’t started working so I didn’t have contact with anyone.”
Early on, someone referred Funke to The North Grove, and she was immediately embraced by the community.
"Whenever I went to The North Grove I felt like I could get out of my body - like I could offload everything that I'd been going through," she says. "The people there will go the extra length and put themselves in a position to ensure that you are ok."
After her son Emmanuel was born, Funke became a regular in The North Grove’s programs. From Baby and Me, where parents connect with their babies and meet other parents, to Infant Massage and countless parenting workshops, Funke was at The North Grove several times a week.
"I was hooked. To say I enjoyed it doesn't do it justice," says Funke.
"It was a place to calm down, relax and share my experience with people when I really needed that. I got so much, not just physically, but also mentally and socially."
Now, Funke’s husband has joined her in Canada, and she’s started working as an operating room nurse at the Halifax Infirmary. But The North Grove is still on her mind – and in her heart. She found an apartment just down the street so she could stay connected and volunteer.
When Funke arrives for her volunteer shift every Thursday morning with a beaming baby Emmanuel, everybody knows her name – they say hello and they smile.
Whenever Funke meets someone who is going through a challenging time, whether it's adjusting to a new culture and country, parenting challenges or financial challenges, she refers them to The North Grove.
"It's so much more than a resource centre," says Funke. "It's not just about the programming or the food - it's the support. The support means a whole lot more than whatever food I could eat."
Help The North Grove meet the growing need this holiday season with an end-of-year gift. Your end-of-year gift makes so much possible - for so many. It provides hundreds of people with healthy meals every week, keeps our farm and market running and creates a warm and welcoming space for parents and children to connect and learn from one another.
Donate before Dec. 31st and your gift will be matched - doubling your impact this holiday season.