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Hope Is a Part of Our Community

So often we hear the ‘top’ news stories on the news or the headlines of most digital and paper newsprints that lead with a tragic or sad event.  These stories are meant to pull us in.  Lately, Prince Albert has seen its share of news events such as the rise of COVID cases in our area and the way some of us have become negligent in taking care of ourselves and others as the pandemic continues to play havoc with our lives and the way we see others in this world.  Somewhere along the way, some have begun to assume they are infallible… but in the meantime they put the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems (like me) at risk.  And I am simply not okay with someone playing Russian roulette with my life.  When I start to feel angry about how others actions can negatively affect me, I need to find a reason to counteract the anger with hope.  My philosophy is for every negative thought I have about a person or action, I must come up with three positive thoughts to counter-balance it.  So the negative action this week is the spread of the COVID virus in our area after we had been doing so very well at keeping the outbreak down.  Here are three things that people are doing in our community, despite the rise in COVID numbers.

Delmer Anderson has repurposed an old school bus into a haven for the homeless.  Each week, he and volunteers go out into the community giving hot coffee, nutritious food and warm clothing to homeless people living in our community.  There is no judgement, just some encouragement, a few laughs and good food to be shared.  If you’re able to donate food, clothing, blankets, winter boots or even money to make food to donate, please contact Sherry McLennan at her office downtown next to Cherry Insurance (1308 1st Ave E).

In this time of isolation, our elders can find it extremely lonely.  Western Region 2 area director, Sherry McLennan, saw this and took to social media requesting people to identify their skill set so programs could be set up where others could learn a skill.  From this initiative volunteers and elders are creating and selling face masks ($5, $7 each for Halloween masks or 2 for $10), providing schools with masks for learners to wear and they are planning a new class soon – puzzle bags.  There is also a Metis Mentor Group for Men so if you’re interested in being a part of this project, drop in to the Metis Western Region 2 office next to Cherry Insurance in Prince Albert.  They will be pleased to provide you with more information regarding upcoming projects.  The office has been actively seeking ways to help people in our community, not just the Metis.  Other initiatives they’ve been working on during these trying times include traditional Metis music every Friday while actively practicing social distancing, supplying yeast when it was in short supply and working with a business out of Christopher Lake to provide weekly meat orders for those who wanted to purchase it.  There were also opportunities for people to pick up fresh vegetables and for elders to have fresh fish delivered to their homes, when it was available.  

Jody Foy has been baking up a storm in an effort to see a dream become a reality for youth transitioning out of foster care.  As a special education educator, she saw there was a lack of support for young people leaving the system to live independent lives.  This was upsetting to her.  Jody and David Girardi came up with an idea called Harleys House.  The idea is to provide a safe home where young adults transition out of foster care and into the community while learning skills that will help them successfully transition into independent living as an adult.  Jody created the Cupcake Attic to help raise funds to purchase property and build Harleys House.  All of the proceeds from the Cupcake Attic and any fundraisers held for Harleys House go right to the project.  Jody requests two weeks’ notice on cupcake orders and she has a fabulous selection of delicious cupcakes if you’re interested in purchasing some.  Look for her on Facebook by searching Cupcake Attic.

I know there are more than just these few people doing incredible things to keep hope and positive energy alive and well in our community but these are the three that came to mind as I thought about writing the column this week.  I like being inspired by others and I’m interested in what motivates them to give so much of themselves to help others.  Even if you’re not able to volunteer time or you’re unable to share food or clothing, it’s amazing how much a hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate can mean to someone who wouldn’t have it otherwise.  Carry spare change in your money tray (aka ashtray) inside your vehicle so you can always help someone out when you see there is a need.  Or, when you’re inline paying for your own cup of coffee, pay for the person behind you as well.  It’s often interesting to see how long a ‘pay it forward’ can last – anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how people respond to the kindness given to them (and how expensive the order is directly behind them!) that day.  I guess what I’m saying is none of us need to save someone’s life to be a hero – sometimes a hero is made just by improving someone else’s day.  And any one of us can do that if we choose to… and honestly, in my experience, life is just so much richer and full of purpose when I am giving rather than receiving.  As we near the consumerism that has become December 25th, perhaps this is a good point to keep in mind… helping others rather than buying things to gift to others.  It’s just a thought.

Take care and have a great week, everyone.

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