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HELPERS: Local volunteer pays community’s support forward

When Nina Doiron’s family arrived in Canada as refugees 40 years ago, the outpouring of support from the local community was enormous. Today, her volunteer work honours their generosity.

Newmarket area volunteer Nina Doiron knows better than most just how far a good serving of kindness can go.

When her family first came to Canada as refugees more than 40 years ago, it was only through the generosity of three local churches — who, alongside sponsoring their arrival into the country, also provided furnishings for their home, donations of food and clothes, and financial support.

“Everything we had in our home was donated,” said Doiron.

Many years later, Doiron still deeply appreciates the kindness that allowed her family to flourish in their new country. Today as the owner of iSO Design, an award winning home staging and design company, she pays their charity forward by giving back to the same community that once gave so much to her and her family — volunteering, donating, and fundraising for a variety of local food banks including the York Region Food Network, Newmarket Food Pantry, and Barrie Food Bank.

“My family went through a time when we had to rely on the generosity of others,” said Doiron. “The cause really resonates with me. The idea that people go hungry is just not acceptable.”

Doiron's work with the York Region Food Network stretches back nearly a decade, beginning with a role on the organization’s board and continuing today as its vice-chair. She also makes it a priority to pay it forward in other ways, volunteering, donating and fundraising in support of various food and children’s charities — causes, due to her background and family history, that she’s particularly passionate about.

“Children are so innocent,” said Doiron. “It’s not fair that any of them go to school hungry.”

A mother of two, Doiron also prioritizes support of children’s hospitals. Getting involved this way not only helps a community of children in need, but gives her peace of mind knowing that if her family ever needed help — as they did years ago — supports would be in place.

“To live is to give,” said Doiron. “I try to give wherever possible. My mantra is that when people ask me for a donation, I always say yes. If I can give back, I will.”