Northern communities sharing and caring during COVID Christmas
- Judith Iron | January 06, 2021
Christmas and COVID are a sad combination, but northern communities have patterned out safe ways to continue their traditions of giving gifts, hampers, turkeys and treats to their community members.
Due to the potential spread of COVID 19, celebrating the 2020 holiday season will be very different from that of previous years. Everywhere you go you are required to wear masks and sanitize your hands; self-isolation and even quarantine and contact tracing have become common. All of this makes it impossible for northern communities to have their annual Christmas celebrations and gatherings. But if they're careful and practice safety measures, that doesn't mean they still can't bring joy and good cheer to their neighbors.
With health and safety being first and foremost in the minds of many boards, committees, volunteers, and councils in the north, the annual traditions and celebrations are no longer being held. Every northern community is doing their best to prevent the spread and flatten the curve of COVID 19.
The community of Beauval will be delivering gifts and treats to elders who are sixty plus.
“Usually our community would have a big Christmas dinner where we would play games, have a prize bingo, and sometimes entertainment, but we can't do that this year,” said Melissa Eldridge.
“Closer to Christmas, our secret Santa will be delivering gifts and candy bags to the kids in the community.”
Beauval volunteers have experience with COVID safety. They have been providing care packages to elders for the last two months.
“Whoever is preparing the boxes, packaging the treats, and wrapping the gifts will be wearing masks and gloves and sanitizing the whole time,” Eldridge said.
The village of Pinehouse will distribute turkey baskets to each household in their community thanks to donations from Northern Region 3, Northern Village of Pinehouse, Kineepik Metis Local, and Pinehouse Business North. They have a pandemic team that ensures that they follow safety protocol.
“We will be taking all the necessary steps to ensure safe delivery of the items, social distancing, masks, and gloves will be worn. We are genuinely wishing everyone a happy holiday season and we hope this helps,” said village administrator Stephanie Boyd.
In Ile-a-la-Crosse the community plans to have a Santa Anonymous distribution of gifts to youth and kids eighteen and under. The gifts will be delivered curbside after the Santa Parade on December 19. The Minahik Waskahigan Elementary School in Pinehouse is holding a fundraiser to sponsor families who may have been having a tough time at Christmas.
As is evident by these examples of generosity and the safety precautions being followed in the north, the people at the heart of these communities are strong and supportive in times of hardship. The people of the north have not lost their Christmas Spirit during the time of COVID.