FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John resident and Indigenous advocate, Connie Greyeyes, anticipates the first 20 boxes of her grief box initiative will be available to residents experiencing loss by Tuesday.

Greyeyes began the grief box initiative earlier this year after noticing a recent influx of deaths within the community and wanted to do something for residents struggling with loss.

She says it was very rewarding to see how many residents and businesses reached out after calling out for donations.

“They’re messaging me saying: ‘I’m going to the city. Do you need anything? I was thinking I would hit up Bed Bath and Bodyworks and get some bath bombs.’ It’s really heartwarming to know that so many people felt that too,” Greyeyes said.

Surerus Murphy teamed up with Greyeyes and added picture frames to the boxes for residents to have a framed photo of their lost loved ones.

Greyeyes says these boxes are available to all residents of the community experiencing loss.

“You don’t need to be indigenous to access these. They’re there for the community. I think that a kind gesture like this goes a long way when somebody is grieving. My hope is that when they see this box, they feel loved and supported,” she said.

She adds that there will likely be more boxes to come as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society is in full support of the initiative.

“They’re actually also helping with gift cards to put inside of of the boxes, along with some information on who to call if you’re having a hard time and you need to speak with somebody,” Greyeyes said.

“We also have counsellors that are available 24/7, and those are all free.”

The boxes will contain items for self-care and comfort, such as tea, chocolate, scarves and journals, as well as contact information for support services for those needing someone to talk to.

Those interested in receiving a box can reach out to Greyeyes at conngrey@telus.net or call 250-793-1468