Jill and her husband, Andrew Gilmour - and her right hand man during everything

A true hero lives among us… here in Durham

Among us walk unnoticed several real-life heroes who remain unnoticed and their achievements unsung. They are a reminder that it takes only one human being to make a positive change.

Jill Boville is just such a person. She has dedicated – not just her time and money – but her life to helping the less fortunate in our community.

“I realized that there was a huge need in our community. And that people wanted to help. I shifted my home to an outreach and it blossomed from there and literally exploded!” says Jill.

“I had people donating items all the time, filling my living room over and over again with items for the food bank, baking supplies (which we offered to others…such as flour and yeast) as well as hygiene items which were gifted to the Salvation Army for their homeless outreach, as well as bags for seniors in a few long term care homes. It hasn’t stopped,” she adds.

With summer gone and Thanksgiving over, Jill has turned her attention to winter and spreading cheer during the Christmas season.

“People are still on board and now we are focussed on Christmas. It has also caused many of my followers to open their hearts and give in their own ways.

How has Jill helped:

  • To date, we’ve had over 3,400 food items brought here to be donated to the Salvation Army food bank. Absolutely amazing
  • Approximately 1,500 personal hygiene items were donated that have been used in various ways, senior care bags given out to various local long term care homes, hygiene kits for the homeless via the Salvation Army etc.
  • Over 400 free craft kits have been given out for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day + summer kits
  • Over 795 free meals and treats have been distributed
  • Some 500 items were collected for children’s activity packs (bubbles, colouring books, crayons, etc.). These were handed out via the Salvation Army family services to children who came with their parents for services like the food bank.
  • Over 3,000 masks have been made and donated or sold (my mom and dad makes these)
  • Over 300 items have been collected to gift during our Christmas during the July initiative
  • Approximately 50 families benefited from our Christmas in July initiative with meals, pantry items, hygiene items and small gifts
  • Over 200 letters and pictures have been brought here to go to seniors as a form of encouragement
  • 45 sponsors came forward to help gift our graduates some love with a wood plaque and a long stem rose.
  • 300 cookie packs were given to teachers
  • Some 250 people benefited from turkey dinners we provided at Thanksgiving. Some received individual meals already prepared and some received whole turkeys and all the trimmings for their families.
Jill’s home

Jill says countless donations keep pouring in. And the need is very real. “We count it a privilege to be able to help in any way we can. I feel that it’s our job to help others. To lift others up. To be a blessing. And to have the support from all of you has been the ‘icing on the cake’. The compassion I have witnessed in the past few months is outstanding and humbling,” she points out.

Now looking to Christmas

Jill says residents of Durham are so blessed and have so much to be grateful for. “This Christmas, I need your help.”

“We are going to work towards providing 250 individual Christmas dinners for people in our community. There are several community supports already in place to serve those who are in need,”she said.

“My focus will be on those who are finding themselves alone or suffering – perhaps seniors. Those who have been at home for months, not able to get out much, unable to visit with family or friends. Those who are really feeling cut off. Those who have no assistance as they don’t fall under the same umbrella as those who receive help from places such as The Salvation Army. Your parents. Your grandparents. Your elderly neighbour.

Jill needs your help with collecting food donations for the local food banks. These items can be dropped off any time between now and December 1st. Get your neighbours, friends, family, and coworkers involved.

She is also putting together at least 200 stockings for all ages- babies to seniors. She needs stocking stuffers.

Here is how you can help:

  1. You can drop off canned goods, pantry items and any non-perishables, including diapers and formula. items at 1464 Lyncroft Cres in Oshawa anytime between now and December 1st.
  2. You can sponsor a stocking ($20) for a baby-child-teen-adult-senior, whichever age group you would like.
  3. You can donate items for stockings like small blankets, mitts, scarves, small toys, books, crayons, toiletry items, Christmas ornaments, small games such as card games, tea bags, etc.
  4. You can fill a stocking yourself to donate for a specific age group.
  5. You can nominate people who you think would benefit from a stocking or from receiving Christmas dinner. “We will do our best to accommodate all requests. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help for someone you know or love. This is a great way to bless them,” says Jill.
  6. Financial donations are always lovingly accepted. “I feel very passionately about helping others. I have no big support out there helping me to make this all happen. It’s just me and my household and the support from all of you. And no matter how high I aim, you always seem to come through for me to help make my ideas happen. Any financial donations will be used where they are needed the most in order to fulfill these holiday projects. E-transfers can be sent to rjhester@me.com or cash can be dropped off at any time,” says Jill.
Some of the giveaways

One of the things that keeps Jill going, is not just the love of the ones she is able to help, but the amazing way how people step up to share with those that need a little cheer in their day.

“Thank you for your support, your love, your care, your kind words, your donations. Together, we can make this a wonderful Christmas for so many. Christmas is all about giving and loving others and I can’t wait to bring these gifts of love to many people in our community, she adds.

A poem Jill wrote about seniors who are feeling alone and isolated…

I Sit Here Alone

I sit here alone
As the world passes me by
Where are you running?
You all seem to fly.

I hear on the news
That you should not entertain
Except those in your household
And you all seem to complain.

That won’t be so hard
As it’s only me
So nothing will change
With that I’ll agree

How I’d love to have company
And cook them a feast
But it’s only me
Entertaining has ceased

The holidays come
And the holidays go
I’ll watch specials on tv
No presents or bows

Isolation is something
I’ve come to accept
It’s been only me
I’ve sat here and wept

No family to pop in
No friends to laugh with
It’s only me
And that’s not a myth

Then a knock at my door
Who could it be?
No one ever comes here
It’s only me

A gift in their hands
Thanksgiving dinner to eat
Who sent this to me?
It’s all so discreet.

A tear in my eye
But joy in my heart
Someone thought of me!
Who played this part?

Someone cares, someone knows
Yet they remain unknown
But how blessed I am
As I sit here alone

Note: If you know of anyone who is an unsung hero in your community, please nominate them for our Durham Hero series. Write to us at editor@durhampost.ca

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