It has been such a pleasure to be involved in the 2022 Small Neighbourhood Grant program. It was fun to plan, but more fun to host. Although everyone in the complex wasn’t able to attend, we had fabulous success engaging in conversation with those who did. For 2 hours, the ladies shared stories about their childhood, their marriages, their families and their day-to-day activities. It started out a bit slow, with us encouraging conversations about where they had come from and what drew them to 3 Links Lodge in Armstrong. We heard some very funny stories, some endearing conversations about their marriages, children and grandchildren, and about their previous occupations. We also heard how isolated and lonely they felt during COVID and how C0VID impacted their ability to stay connected not only with the world, but also with their fellow 3 Links Lodge neighbours.
We definitely feel the experience was worth our time and effort in embracing our seniors, in relating to them we greatly we value their stories, their relationships, and listening to their future hopes. Apparently they enjoyed the tea, coffee, cake and the visit. Everyone seemed to enjoy many chuckles and we also noted the twinkle in their eyes as they shared their stories with us. My partner and I received sincere ‘Thanks Yous’ from the attendees. We were even asked if we could return once a month to repeat the event!!!
Gifts bags were made up for residents in each of the 20 units. Once the Tea Party had concluded, my partner and I delivered gift bags to those who did not attend the Tea. Everyone related they were very appreciative of this kindness. A very special thank you to the 2022 Neighbour Small Grants members for making it possible for this wonderful opportunity to connect and honour our Seniors!
• Expecting everyone to attend may have been a bit naive. Some of the residents are not enjoying good health while others have mobility challenges. Others may have been skeptical that someone knocking on their door and offering them an invitation for tea and cake, may have had an ulterior motive – although I believe if there is another opportunity to repeat this valuable gathering, those who attended might encourage other residents to join in. The ladies that visited with us left with smiles, gift bags, full tummies, and the best gift above all else – knowing someone cares!!
• I substantially under-estimated the budge to host this event as everything has gone up in price: From the $500 grant, $400 was spent on 20 X $20 gift cards to Askews Foods in Armstrong. A further $165 was spent on the decorated cake, teacups, juice cups, napkins, disposable cutlery, invitations, paper plates, gift bags, and the items for each gift bag which included: Lindor Chocolates, a Hand Sanitizer, a small package of Kleenex and of course an Askews gift card. Guests also left with Halloween chocolate bars.
Thank you very much for accepting the idea and providing the grant to connect with the 3 Links Lodge seniors. It was such an amazing experience, not only for the guests, but for myself and my partner as well. Your generosity and kindness in helping to make this event possible is VERY much appreciated!
Project Leader: Catherine MacAskill