Island grocer steps up after military mom ridiculed for shopping with kids

Island grocer steps up after military mom ridiculed for shopping with kids
WatchAfter being called a 'bad mom' for grocery shopping with her kids, another store is stepping up to help a military mom and others like her. April Lawrence reports.

Life with two small children has its ups and downs, but a few weeks ago, things took a turn Janene Walker never saw coming.

“I was shocked that two men came up and decided to tell me off especially in front of my children and call me names in front of them,” Walker said.

Walker had taken her two-year-old and six-year-old old with her to a West Shore grocery store and the men took very vocal issue with it because of social distancing. But Walker’s husband is deployed in the military and she says she had no other choice.

“I had to do a big shop actually so I didn’t really want to ask anyone to do a $300 grocery shop for me and I wasn’t able to get a time slot with any of the online deliveries or pickups,” she said.

“A lot of times when they’re policing people they’re making assumptions about that person’s situation and why maybe they’re out.”

There is currently an unprecedented number of local military families in Walker’s situation. Eight hundred and fifty members are currently away from home, and many are on ships, like Walker’s husband Joe who is on HMCS Whitehorse, visible just offshore. They are being isolated from the impacts of COVID-19 as part of Operation Laser.

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“People are comforted that the ships and their military members are close to home, on the one hand and on the other hand it feels like they should be home so they’re home but they’re not home,” said Jackie Carle, executive director of the Military Family Resource Centre.

So with that in mind, and after hearing Walker’s unsettling experience at another store, those who run the Market on Millstream wanted to step in to help.

“I felt bad for her and we wanted to reach out and see if we can do something for the community as well as her,” said store manager Jason Boer.

So they’re offering free grocery delivery to military families with a member deployed.

“It’s those simple things that really help Canadian Armed Forces families know that the community supports them and understands this life that they’re living,” said Carle.

Janene Walker says she’ll use the service and expects they’ll be inundated with calls.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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