The world is changing as these words are written, and will have changed again by the time they are read.
Working to get The Local to press, with CBC News running in the background and regular pinging as emails arrive, signalling more changes, more closures, information overload about the COVID-19 virus and how we should react to it, is dizzying.
As CBC travels across the country, the messages can be slightly different, although the goal is always the same — to ensure safety for all. Just heard one Canadian premier say “we need to stay at home,” followed in the next sentence by, “as a community, we need to take care of our neighbours.” He didn’t explain how to do both.
Our provincial health ministers are talking about the number of virus victims in each of their jurisdictions — they are on the rise — and about “simple asks” such as hand-washing, self-isolating for those who have been out of the country, limits to public gatherings and closures, along with so many other reminders and updates, such as take our jewelry off when hand-washing in one breath, in the next, the Rolling Stones are cancelling their tour.
But you can find that news, those statistics, anywhere. More important to us is what is happening here, in our community, a bit of news to brighten our day. We were excited to hear, for a change, of an event that has not been cancelled, something that shows our true community spirit, in the face of difficult times.
Every year, for more than three decades, the NOTL Horticultural Society has been making spring bouquets and delivering them to residents of local long-term care facilities. They also used to include patients at the hospital, but of course we have no hospital now.
This year, Sharon Van Noort and her staff at Van Noort Florists are helping the horticultural society volunteers, since they are unable to get together because of the COVID-19 scare, and there are 245 bouquets to be made. The flower store is closed so that staff can get the job done.
In the early days of the Flowers for Seniors event, volunteers who made the bouquets were able to hand them directly to the seniors, who were always so grateful to receive a colourful, cheerful reminder of spring. Then, as policies changed to protect the health of the long-term care residents, volunteers would leave them at the front desk, to be distributed by staff. This year, they are leaving them outside the entrances of Heritage Place, Upper Canada Lodge and Chartwell, but never mind, they will still be gratefully received, likely even more so with the shortage of visitors to these facilities.
What a great example of community — a local business helping the horiticultural society to hold on to the tradition of cheering up seniors.
Amongst all the gloomy news, the repeated phrases about “unprecedented times,” it was so reassuring, so heartening to hear this bit of brightness in our community is continuing.
Although the experts we see on the news are giving out all the advice we feel we could possibly need, one little bit they’re not telling us — this is just a suggestion from someone who thrives on news — is don’t overdose on it. Turn it off, get up and go for a walk — not sure if that is still allowed, but if you walk where there aren’t a lot of people and you can keep your distance from any you might encounter, it may not be too risky. A little bit of sunshine and physical activity might lift the feeling of isolation that leads to depression.
Otherwise, follow the example of the spring flower event and reach out to others who are also in need of some more uplifting human contact and conversation. We might not be able to bring them colourful bouquets — although we could leave one on their doorstep — but a phone call, a few encouraging words, could have the same effect of bringing some light and cheer into what could otherwise be a dark day.
For more local news, we will try to keep our readers up-to-date. It’s difficult when changes are occurring so quickly, but we are committed to bringing you all you need to know. As we hear information that might be important to you, we’ll post it online and on Facebook. Social media is a good source of news about what’s closed tomorrow that wasn’t closed today. But if that’s not your expertise, if you have trouble finding what you need to know, call me at 905-246-5878, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t know the answer I’ll try to direct you to where you can get the help you need.
Possibly one of the most important contacts is the regional public health department, online at https://www.niagararegion.ca/news/article.aspx?news=1038&t=Niagara+confirms+third+case+of+COVID-19. Or call the health department at 905-688-8248 ext. 7476.