Tamarack Institute | Week of March 23, 2020
Here are 5 community building stories and ideas sent in by Tamarack Institute members in response to COVID-19. Send your inspiring stories to Glenda and every week we will choose five to share.
Deb from Cochrane, AB shares some of the ways her community is staying connected:
To keep us all connected in this time of isolation and social distancing, Cochrane has created a sense of belonging with the help of technology. A group of women have started a “Pen Pal” project where you are paired to a new person through email to proceed to “write letters” and get to know them or share stories - A fun and easy way to connect and meet new people.
Cochrane’s Mayor, Jeff Genung, has been walking around Town filming and then posting videos of positive messages and actions from locals and groups in the community. Some of those include:
Cochrane Online Community Pantry – a Facebook page where people post what they need or what they have to offer including food, baby items, cleaning supplies or help with errands.
Gourmet to Go Catering - is making 100 meals to feed seniors or people in isolation and asked the community to help prepare food and provide delivery.
The Farmhouse Sessions – a Facebook page dedicate to posting musical performances, big or small, so others can tune in and be entertained. A perfect audience for kids who love to make Tik Tok videos; you can even play the spoons.
A lot of connection is happening virtually or online, but some neighbours are coming together organically. My favourite story is about a 4-year-old boy who’s birthday party was meant to be at the local Rec Centre and had to be cancelled as the facility is closed. He woke up that morning and looked out his window to find every house on his street had decorated their front yards and windows with Happy Birthday signs, decorations and balloons. His friends then suddenly called into a group call and sang “Happy Birthday” as he enjoyed cupcakes for breakfast.
Lisa from Woodstock, Ontario writes:
Oxford County Library made the decision to close our 14 branches on Friday, March 13, and hope that we will be able to reopen on Monday, April 6.
With all daycares and schools closed for the next 3 weeks, our Community Librarian in Ingersoll, Luke McKee, decided to start Virtual Storytimes, so that young children and their parents or caregivers could feel like they were still at their local library, listening to stories from their favourite library staff. Luke and Ingersoll staff will continue this, with at least two scheduled storytimes on Facebook Live each week. One of our Library Board members, who is also the Mayor of one of our local municipalities, asked to be part of this, and will be joining Luke and Ingersoll staff in the video.
No, it’s not the same as really being in the library, enjoying being amongst storytime buddies and friendly library staff, but the reaction from our public to the video has been amazing. I think the video has helped people feel connected, and the children know that their library friends are still there.
Shelley from Edmonton, Alberta has created a postcard template to help her neighbours and others in the community reach out to each other. She says:
This file makes 4 postcards and can be edited. It seems to be giving people permission to reach out. Those who were already socially isolated are hard to find. We are also connected to an organization that reaches out to isolated immigrant seniors.
The Uptown West Neighbourhood Association in Waterloo, Ontario sent this message to their neighbours: Here’s a fun activity to keep us entertained while we are socially distancing ourselves, participate in a Neighbourhood Window Walk.
On the morning of the days below put the suggested image in one of your front windows. Then go out for a walk and see if you can find them in your neighbourhood or just sit back and enjoy seeing people pass by looking for the images.
Neighbourhoods across the nation from Gatineau, Quebec to Calgary, Alberta are all encouraging their neighbours to stay connected through a neighbourhood window walk.
In Hamilton, Ontario a Facebook group has popped up – CareMongering-HamOnt: Hamilton Community Response to COVID19. This is an active page where acts of generosity, caring and connection abound. Posts range from people looking to volunteer to sharing information to brainstorming ideas on how to keep boredom and feelings of isolation at bay. Whatever the topic, it’s clear that the members of this group are embracing social solidarity during this time of physical distancing.
Caremongering' is a new word, trend, and hashtag all centered on connecting people who have things to offer with those who might be struggling or in need of something.
As a member of Tamarack’s learning community, we wanted to reach out to you in these challenging times as communities struggle with unprecedented COVID-19 responses.We plan to offer at least one webinar a week until the end of April, and as always these are free. See the current list of webinars. This week's webinars include:
Do reach out to us with any questions – our contact page has our direct numbers and emails. We are here to help.
Liz, Paul, and the Tamarack Team