I remember thinking in early March, as I often do when tragedy affects countries far away from Canada, “how sad for those people and I hope nothing like that ever hits here at home”.
Well, this time my fear was realized as we were hit like everyone else in the world with this pandemic that at times feels a bit like we are living in the twilight zone or horror movie. I however, like so many others are looking for and finding positive in this tragedy. I want to share positives that I have experienced over the past days and weeks and provide a bit of an update on PWC since March 13, 2020.
Firstly, PWC is operating and meeting the needs of many in our community. This is not without struggles and barriers, but we are getting it done! We are in the office and here for you Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. We are maintaining personal distance and personal contact while still delivering some Programs and Services. We have developed a very efficient outside pick-up and drop-off system so there is no personal contact. We are limiting as much as possible the space in the building to no more than two people at one time.
The positives: staff are answering phones and making calls, organizing shopping, organizing volunteers that are still doing income taxes, organizing online ‘Zoom’ social opportunities, and supporting all our clients/participants in the community. PWC is continuing to provide Better at Home light housekeeping, where possible, as well as Friendly Visitors, Outreach and calls to all existing clients/participants. And, the Gardens - what a great way to be outside and still maintain social distancing while planting food for yourself.
PWC is providing the new service of shopping, pick-up and delivery for residents of Peachland only. We are not, however, restricting the shopping to Peachland stores as the capacity of the community is such that the need goes beyond these boundaries. We support Peachland stores whenever possible, however recognize that local is more than the District of Peachland. Local is Peachland, the Central Okanagan, the Interior Health Region, the Province of BC, the Country of Canada and finally the world. We have discovered a few things with this service which includes a grocery store can sometimes take up to a week or more to process an order, sale shopping is not as easy and so it appears groceries are costing more than going to the store on your own and picking from choices that are on sale. This service has grown so much in a very short time that stores are having a hard time getting things as quickly as people may want. We are doing the shopping for some not able to do the online shop because they need something sooner than the store can have ready. This is working well thanks again to great volunteers willing to go to stores to do the shop. PWC is providing all the volunteers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in order for them to stay safe.
The positives: We have delivered much needed items to over 25 people in the past 3 weeks, this is a new program that we have talked about for years and is now set-up so well that it will continue long after COVID-19 has settled down, these services are for anyone in the community, not just current PWC participants.
Even though we have or because we have started to develop new ways to do things, we still have needs that are difficult to meet. Donations are needed now more than ever as we are unable to host any fundraising events. The glamorous End of Summer Gala has been postponed, the Sunday Breakfast is on hold, with no traffic in the building the Boutique is not operating, with programs on hold no donations of this type are coming in.
The positives: it is now easier than ever to donate to PWC! We have set-up an E-transfer option. When you send an E-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org the funds automatically go into the PWC general account at VantageOne. All donations are tracked and receipts for donations over $25.00 will be issued. Alternatively, you can set up an ongoing monthly contribution through www.canadahelps.org
Another need that has come up in order to do things differently is the need for used iPads or electronic devices that can be given to seniors or others that do not have something of this type in order for them to communicate online with.
The positives: this will enable more people to join online social programs such as Monday Morning Coffee or Sunshine Singers, this will also provide more individuals with a way to connect to other family and friends.
I am sure for almost everyone there is a need for disinfectant wipes. We provide our volunteers with these as part of the PPE package to keep them safe. I spent last weekend looking in almost every store between Peachland and Kelowna and we have ordered online all to no avail. We do have a backorder to late April for disinfectant wipes with one source. If you are out and about and find any in a store please let us know or if you can purchase and drop off to PWC that would be awesome.
The positive: this is another opportunity for you to help others.
Stay safe and well and contact PWC if you need anything.
Christina MacMaster, Executive Coordinator