Surprising bonding second with porch pirate only one instance of vacation season connections in Saskatoon

A Saskatoon woman says an incident of porch piracy this holiday season turned into an unexpected bonding experience for her.

Though unusual, it’s one of the ways people in the city have found to make an impact in someone else’s life during the holidays.

Laura Raffey told CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning she chased down a woman who was attempting to steal a package off her porch.

“My initial reaction was to get really upset and angry,” Raffey said.

“I was in my COVID attire and I ran down the street after her, in my bare feet, looking for her.”

Once she found the woman who stole her package, Raffey yelled at her, telling her to give her package back and explaining there was a video camera that recorded the theft.

The woman reached into her bag and broke into tears as she handed the package back, Raffey said.

“I don’t even know what I thought, honestly. It was just, here’s a woman beside a dumpster that was so desperate she had to steal off my porch in broad daylight,” she said, fighting through tears.

“I asked her her name.… I told her my name and I asked her if she wanted to come in and warm up.”

Raffey said the woman agreed and after some food and a hot drink the pair got to talking.

7:24Woman finds connection with person who took a package off her steps after finding her by a dumpster

Laura Raffey chased someone who stole a package off her doorstep and ended up inviting the person inside for a hot drink. 7:24

The woman initially seemed embarrassed and didn’t want to talk much, but Raffey explained that the last few years had left her “at the end of her rope” and apologized for chasing the woman down.

The other woman opened up and shared some of her life experiences, Raffey said.

Raffey said that was when she realized that maybe she was only a few choices away from being put in a similar situation as the woman who tried to steal from her.

That, she believes, is what made her feel the connection she made with the woman.

Connecting organizations with donors, volunteers

Reaching out, making connections and helping others, particularly in another holiday season threatened by COVID-19, was something that was top of mind for Saskatoon’s Alice Kuipers.

She and Saskatoon real estate agent Gregg Bamford co-founded a website designed to make connections between those who wish to donate or volunteer and organizations in need, by giving organizations a way to communicate their specific needs to those who wish to help.

Recently that site, One Small Step, was revamped as Kuipers and the site’s co-founding partner realized the need for those kinds of services would grow over the holidays.

The idea was to create a website where people could type in “where can I donate,” and find meaningful results quickly, Kuipers said.

“There are so many non-profits doing incredible work here in the city. Saskatoon Food Bank has an amazing learning component. Prairie Harm Reduction is taking gifts out to families this Christmas,” she said.

“We didn’t know all of that, and what we wanted to make sure was that everybody in the city who has that generous impulse could easily find that out.”

She said each of the 36 partner organizations featured on the site has different needs, so she encourages potential donors or volunteers to take some time to learn about the needs of each.

On top of advertising those needs, Kuipers said she believes people want to help, and she wanted to create a way for them to keep up to date with what is happening in Saskatoon’s non-profit sector.

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