COVID-19: Local Facebook group gathers support to support one another

COVID-19: Local Facebook group gathers support to support one another

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One message to the group shared by Halo Power Solutions read; “Picked up and delivered some sugar today for a lady in Davidson Creek, got a really sweet thank you card from her. What more could I ask for All because of the wonderful Strathcona County Covid-19 Support FB page!”

Since we’re currently apart, we’re coming together online.

A Facebook group called Strathcona County COVID-19 Support was created in response to the unraveling situation with a goal of sharing and organizing community resources in response to the pandemic. The page was recently started by Lisa De Sousa and Tanya Saumure after they saw a similar group started in Edmonton.

“Amidst all this turmoil, I wanted a place where the community could come together and support one another,” De Sousa said. “I was tired of the negativity and fear-mongering. It broke my heart to hear of our seniors going to grocery stores and not getting the supplies they need. I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.”

The group is now approaching 2,700 members and has been helping people in a variety of ways.

Initially, we just shared the posts on our personal Facebook pages and invited our family and friends, giving free rein for them to share and invite as well,” she said. “I later posted the group on Asking Strathcona; as a member, I was seeing lots of requests posted for sightings of various supplies, or for the assistance of some sort, this was specifically what the Strathcona COVID-19 Support group had been created for.“

The group allows members to make a variety of posts from tips during isolation, updates from governments on the situation and many other ways to help.

“The members of the group are posting information about product sightings, like which stores have what products available, (people) announcing when they are making a run, asking if anyone needs items,” De Sousa said. “Members also post in search of requests; for themselves or for someone else in the community. The response to these are typically people giving up of their own supplies or offers to go and pick up the requested item. They work out the details between themselves.“

De Sousa recalled it is great to see people helping each other out and the group grew extremely fast, going from 400 members on the morning of Sunday, March 15 to more than 1,000 that night.

The group also works hard to ensure that only credible information from health authorities and governments are verified to ensure accuracy. The main goal is just to help as much as they can, De Sousa noted

“We want to ensure that people are getting accurate information. There are resources for at-home activities, mental health services, education resources, financial resources, medical resources – such as the assessment tool,” she said. “We try to categorize everything by topic. People can click on the topic heading for what they are looking for. More recently we added the topic #SupportLocal. This is to promote what local small businesses are doing, closures, etc.”

De Sousa said she hopes more members of the community will join the group but knows it will not reach everyone. She suggests residents should also reach out to neighbours and others who may not be online to check on them and ask if they need any help as well, while still maintaining social distancing.

“Check on your elderly neighbours, start a program in your neighbourhood, if you are isolated and in need, tie a ribbon on your door. Call one another, stay connected,” she added.

De Sousa noted it is really the members that deserve the credit for all the help they’ve offered.

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