by Heather Sinclair, Assistant to the Coordinator, Sisters of Charity Living at Caritas and Parkstone
Covid-19 moved into our world like a dark cloud and with it came ‘self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’. Yet despite these strange and unsettling times, unique opportunities have emerged to let the light shine in. People are finding unconventional and creative ways to connect, one of the silver linings in this dark cloud.
At Caritas Residence, one such silver lining recently appeared. A pen pal project between Sisters and local children started not long after a state of emergency was declared in Nova Scotia and the ‘stay in place’ measures enacted. Word spread and soon after we were contacted by a local youth group called “Exchange for Change.”
Exchange for Change is a group of homeschooled youth that’s been meeting for six years. Every two weeks they get together to make crafts to sell at one of the Farmers’ markets to raise money for charities of the kids’ choice. In the past, they have supported Feed NS, the Ronald McDonald House, Unicef, the NS Nature Trust and the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, among others. In early March, the youth made chili for 30 people at the Out of the Cold shelter with supplies kindly donated by a local grocery store.
These days the group is not able to meet in person to carry out their usual works, so they seek opportunities to socially connect and reach out to others rather than be limited by social distancing. They were very excited to approach and connect with The Sisters of Charity at Caritas.
In a creative card-making blitz, the group sent good tidings and well wishes by delivering 50 homemade cards for 50 Sisters! *
Their group leader and parent volunteer, Cassie Kent, wrote, “We have been meeting virtually, enjoying each other’s’ good humour (and bad jokes), while making cards which will hopefully communicate the kids’ best wishes and thoughts of hope, encouragement and solidarity to the Sisters. We are in this together!”
It seems they did indeed succeed in their intention. As Sister Alice Mailman wrote in a response to the group, “Thanks so much for your thoughtful, positive wishes and delightful creative art in your cards for all of us here at Caritas. It was wonderful to read them … Be assured of my prayers for each one of you. Keep up the good work you’re doing!” And from Sister Deanna MacDougall, “What a wonderful way to keep connected! Be safe and thank you again for thinking of us… God Bless you and your efforts.”
A great big heartfelt thank you and virtual hugs to Ella, Rachel, Leo, Ira, Emmet, Sophie, Asa, and Cassie! Your cards are a silver lining in difficult times, they brought smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. You guys are awesome!
* The cards were gathered and ‘quarantined’ for 12 days before delivery.