#Bears4BarhoChildren honours children lost in tragic fire
HALIFAX -- It was a quiet day on Quartz Drive in Spryfield on Monday, with barely a sign of what happened on the street a year ago, except for a large stuffed animal on one doorstep. The toy animal is a reminder of a movement, #Bears4BarhoChildren, that started after a devastating fire on February 19, 2019, that killed seven children and destroyed the home that once stood on the plot of land.
"A neighbour of ours had put flowers on his bannister to remember them," says #Bears4BarhoChildren organizer, Angela Pellerine. "We said 'we should put something, like the hockey sticks for Humboldt.'
Pellerine and her cousin, Andrea Bennett, decided to use teddy bears – an idea that spread globally after they posted online.
"To see the bears put out everywhere, all around the world, it was really overwhelming and great to see support for a family who basically lost their family," says co-organizer Bennett.
Additionally, #Bears4BarhoChildren inspired others to do what they could for Ebraheim and Kawthar Barho after the loss of their children.
"There was charity hockey games; there was charity Zumba; we did some stickers for the subdivision that people bought," says Pellerine. "Everyone just came together."
With the one-year anniversary of the fire happening on Wednesday, the pair have put out the call once again and are asking the community to place bears or stuffed animals on their doorsteps.
It's a gesture of goodwill that is not going unnoticed by community leaders. MLA, Brendan Maguire says at some point, the community hopes to do even more to remember what happened – hinting at a more permanent dedication – if the family approves of it.
It was a tragedy that obviously rocked the community, and it was a tremendous community effort, not just in Spryfield, but across Nova Scotia, to come together," says Maguire. "We want to make sure that it's something that's organic from the community and from the family – we want to make sure it's something that they'll appreciate and that they'll use."
For Pellerine and Bennett, their movement is about showing the Barho family one thing:
"I want them to know it's a year later, and we haven't forgotten them," says Pellerine. "We're still there for them."