Geppo News [2020]

Enjoy Tonari Gumi News introduced in Builtin.  Please scroll down for previous articles.

– 月報 5月号 掲載分 –

Introducing Tonari Gumi Newsletter

TG Volunteers are busy creating a Newsletter to connect with members, volunteers and beyond.  This month we would introduce excerpts from March and April Newsletter.  By the time, you are reading this article; April 24 Newsletter is available through Tonari Gumi website.  Please go to our website, check out latest info from local and federal government, also useful tips to share.

Dear Friends of Tonari Gumi.  We are going through unprecedented times that can be frightening for many.  Tonari Gumi (TG) wants to help, and we are doing some things to help makes things better and, hopefully, a little less worrisome. First, over the past several weeks, TG staff and some volunteers have been calling seniors and others within the community to check on how they are doing and to ask if we can do anything to help.  Restrictions on visiting and social separation can have a negative effect on our seniors and those who already feel isolated and alone.  So, we are paying special attention to those who are living alone and those who do not have family nearby.  TG will be calling more seniors in the community over the coming days and we also ask that if you know of anyone who is isolated and alone, to give TG a call so we can check on them as well.  Second, as an additional source of information and to provide a friendly message, Tonari Gumi has started distributing an on-line Newsletter every two weeks.  Tonari Gumi Newsletter (April 11th edition), edited by Makiko Suzuki and Mayumi Spry:





Apart Yet Stronger (TG) Together

“My father would always tell us that “one stick – breaks, but three sticks – strong”.

It was a theme so ingrained in our lives.  Otōsan stressed that we are always stronger together.  Even when we lives in 3 different countries, cards mailed telephone calls and then internet, we stayed connected and we stayed strong.”

Currently, we may be physically apart; however, on-going research concluded that by connecting with others we gain a valuable outlet to relieve stress and to feel less alone.
In addition, the research also showed that reducing loneliness and social isolation decreased the incidents of chronic illness, including dementia, while increasing a sense of wellness and contentment.  By now you may have received a friendly phone call from our staff at Tonari Gumi. With seniors’ wellness in mind, more than ever we need to keep connected and engaged.  We encourage you to increase your connections with others. Why not join our TG Telephone Buddy Program and get updated on interesting news and allow us to support each other?  In turn, why not share useful information you find on government websites with your friends and family? It will help them deal with their own anxiety.  We are truly stronger by connecting together.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, seniors will be able to receive the support they need through a new province-wide joint initiative of the Ministry of Health, bc211, and United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Through the new Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program, seniors can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal prep, and prescription pick-up, or receive friendly check-in calls by simply dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at Once a senior contacts bc211, they will be connected with a volunteer who can help them. This service will be available seven days a week during daytime hours. “

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities!




あるリサーチによると、私達姉妹の様に例え距離は離れていてもお互いに連絡を取り合うことで、ストレスを解消したり寂しさを和らげることが出来るといいます。 また、人とつながることによる安心感や満たされた気持ちは、孤独感や孤立からくる慢性的な心の病や認知症の回避に効果をもたらすと報告されています。隣組には電話友だちというサービスがありますが、これまでに利用されたことはありますか。これはシニアの“心の健康”を考えたサービスです。



新型コロナウィルス の危機的状況において、BC州政府は新たなシニアサポートbc211を提供しています。バンクーバーエリアに住むシニアの皆さんは、州政府のボランティアによる食料品の買い物や処方箋を取りに行くなどの代行サービスを利用する事ができます。



– 月報 4月号 掲載分 –

Tonrai Gumi extending “fure-ai

In March, the province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and Tonari Gumi had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close its facility from March 16th to prevent transmission among our members and volunteers. All staff regret that this measure had to be taken as many members come to our programs on a regular basis, and also enjoy socializing at Tonari Gumi.  At the same time, we gather that “social distancing” that the government is promoting where we stay at home and keep a distance from others may be stressful for seniors, families, and volunteers who cherish human connection, or “fure-ai” in Japanese. In times like this, we believe that community volunteer organizations like Tonari Gumi should be here to encourage “fure-ai,” and to help connect families and friends who may be isolated through phone calls and emails.  Winter has passed, and as we welcome the long-awaited spring with sakura cherry blossoms in full bloom here in Vancouver, Tonari Gumi would like to invite you to join us in sending out “fure-ai.”

For our facility closure, programs information and updates please check our website:





Happy Birthday to you all!

Tonari Gumi holds birthday parties four times a year for its members.  The party for those with birthdays between January to March was held on February 27.  A total of 45 members, guests and volunteers gathered in celebration.  The Sakura singers provided a mini-concert, which was followed by some fun games.  The Volunteers prepared delicious snacks and homemade birthday cake for the party.  The oldest (and youngest-at-heart) participant was 98 years old.  In response to a question, “What is your secret for longevity?” she quickly replied, “Having two glasses of wine every night and weekly Mahjong Club at Tonari Gumi!”, prompted huge laughter and cheers from the members and volunteers.  Thank you to all participants, and we look forward to many more birthday parties to celebrate!




Looking forward to Tonari Gumi’s AGM on May 2, 2020

May 2nd, 2020 is Tonari Gumi’s Annual General Meeting.  This is a great opportunity to meet our Board of Directors.  Attendees have a chance to comment on Tonari Gumi’s plans for the future and approve financial statements, and elect the Board of Directors.  This is the perfect opportunity for an open conversation with members and the Board.  Please mark your calendar to attend our AGM.  Join with us in helping to strengthen the community and help our seniors.




This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)