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HELPERS: Bradford mom finds unique ways to give back to community

'I think it’s important to be involved and give back to our community. It doesn’t take much time or effort to do something to make someone else smile,' says volunteer

Karen Brown has been living in Bradford just shy of eight years and has been the face of Tupperware as a leading direct sales consultant in the community for seven of those years.

She is happily married to her husband Dave and the couple have two children together: an eight-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.

Brown was born in Richmond Hill and grew up in Aurora where her parents, Janet and Dan, have lived for more than 35 years. Brown recalls the neighbourhood where she grew up as being very friendly and called it a ‘tight-knit’ community.

“We all helped each other and we all knew everyone’s kids and their dogs,” Brown reflects. “My mom was always picking up stray dogs to help them find their way home.”

Brown says her parents would often drop whatever they were doing to help friends and family and describes them as the type of people who would give you the shirt off their back or the last nickel in their pocket.  

Her mother, who is an ICU nurse, organizes the medical teams for the Weekend to Conquer Cancer and the Ride to Conquer Cancer and Brown has been her assistant many times as a driver for first aid supplies.

“I don’t usually get to see the direct results of anything I did, but I know that somewhere along the line I helped someone,” she says. “Helping take off some of the load off the medical team so they can help those that really need it, I can do that. Something that seems as meaningless as dropping off extra bandaids - that was one less thing they had to do.”

Brown attended York University for Psychology, Seneca College for Social Work, and Communication Disorders at Durham College. She currently works full time for the York Region District School Board as a developmental support worker.

“I’ve always been drawn to people with special needs or those with various cognitive abilities,” she shares, adding her previous jobs at nursing homes, the Alzheimer’s Society, and several different group homes over the years.

When Brown joined Tupperware, she admits she signed up for the discount and kit, but fell in love with the products. She is now a director with the company and a leading consultant in the York-Simcoe area.

“With Tupperware, they sometimes have these sales that inspire us to give back,” she explains. “Last year, I did microwave Crystal Wave soup mugs that friends and my VIP’s sponsored for frontline workers. I filled them with various treats and dropped them off at Southlake (Hospital) [and] used any of my profits to fill them.”

Recently, Brown donated Tupperware lunch sets to the Bradford Helping Hand Food Bank from one of her sponsored incentives through the company.

“I think it’s important to be involved and give back to our community,” she explained.. “It doesn’t take much time or effort to do something to make someone else smile.”

Brown shares that despite growing up in a friendly community and having great role model parents in her life, she was ‘horrifically’ bullied in elementary school which had lasting impressions on her growing up. She says she has used the trauma as a reminder to always treat others with respect and to help those around you who are struggling.

“I always knew that I never wanted to be the reason someone else was hurt or sad,” she states. “I always wanted to be the reason they smiled, even if I didn’t get to see it. I think that’s why I’m so draw to those who have more struggles in life. I was lonely all the time, and I made my own way by being friends with anyone who needed a friend too.”

Brown adds, there "was this one boy who stood up for me one day while I was being humiliated. I’ve been trying to find him to thank him – his one gesture has been with me ever since that day.”

Brown encourages others to do something you’re good at and use it to help even just one person.

“To you, it may just be one person, but that one person will never forget what you did for them. If you don’t have the time, sometimes just sponsoring a lunch set or picking up a few extra items at the grocery store for the food bank is bigger than you think.”

In her spare time, Brown loves taking her kids to explore and experience anything and everything she thinks they might enjoy. She also enjoys reading, camping with her family, and creating things on her Cricut (t-shirts, mugs, car decals).

To follow Brown’s Tupperware adventure, visit her website.