All in the family

Collecting for the Heart and Stroke Foundation is a tradition being carried through generations

Diane Crocker
Published on February 17, 2014
Meghan Coleman-Gill, back left, is carrying on a family tradition of collecting for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Coleman-Gill used to collect with her mom Tina Coleman, back right, and now takes her own children, Maggie (front left), Kali and baby Priya with her.
Diane Crocker

As a child Meghan Coleman-Gill accompanied her mother just about every February to collect for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Now a mom herself, she’s carrying on that same tradition with her children.

“She started doing it because her mom had a heart condition,” said Coleman-Gill of her mom, Tina Coleman’s commitment to the foundation.

Coleman-Gill said her maternal grandmother, Christina Furey of Holyrood, died in February 1984 and that has made February, which is designated as Heart Month, all the more important for the family.

Coleman-Gill said she and her siblings, Robert, Kastine Churchill and Nicholas, never minded braving the cold and canvassing the streets with their mother.

She recalls that as they got older Coleman would break up the route and assign sections to each child.

After she got married, moved into her own home and started having children of her own Coleman-Gill said she began to think it was time she took on some volunteer activity.

“I was kind of used to doing everything with my parents,” she said.

Naturally her thoughts turned to the Heart and Stroke Foundation with a feeling that ‘I’ve got to start doing this now.’

So a few years ago she called the local office and signed up to collect on West Valley Road.

“It took me a little bit longer than February, but I ended up getting it all done,” she said.

While her three children are still pretty young — Kali is five, Maggie is three and baby Priya is seven months old — they enjoy getting out and collecting with her. Stepson Jhoni Gill, 11, will also help with the collecting.

“They get so excited to meet all the neighbours,” said Coleman-Gill. She added that in the winter it’s often the only time they get to see some neighbours as everyone is not out as much as at other times of the year.

And while February may be a hard month to door-to-door canvass with all the snow and cold temperatures to contend with, Coleman-Gill doesn’t have any trouble getting people to give.

“I find if I take the kids people give me more money,” she said with a laugh.

Knowing her family is helping with the collection makes Coleman-Gill feel good.

“It’s for such a great cause,” she said. “So many people have heart conditions.”

But like her mom, she’s also happy to be sharing the experience with her children.

“I want to teach my kids how important it is to collect and volunteer,” she said “And, it makes you feel like you’re part of the community.”

Coleman-Gill is also working on expanding the family tradition and has signed up sister Kastine, who also has three children.

“She’s going to take her kids out this year.” Coleman-Gill said.

As for mom, Coleman is proud to see her children carry on the tradition and happy to have the younger generation take over.