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Fulfilling the dreams of seniors in Nova Scotia during COVID-19

By: Melanie MacDonald, Canadian Red Cross communications coordinator 
 
We Are Young (WAY) Association is a not-for-profit whose aim it is to grant unfulfilled wishes to seniors living in Nova Scotia. Through the granting of wishes, WAY hopes to raise social awareness about the inequalities of seniors, honour the role they play in society, and help bridge the gap between generations.
 
During COVID-19, where social distancing and personal protective equipment play a vital role, WAY has had to rethink its strategy of helping seniors feel valued and connected to their community.
 
“It’s been difficult,” said co-founder Katie Mahoney. “Because of COVID-19, we can’t make all the big wishes come true. For now, we still want to reach out and connect with those who are overlooked and are struggling during this challenging time.”
 
With funding from the Government of Canada, distributed by the Canadian Red Cross, WAY has expanded its outreach by granting more than 500 little wishes to date, in the form of self-care gift bags.
Colin McCrae volunteers at We Are Young, a Nova Scotia-based non-profit that is using funds received from the Red Cross to reach out to more seniors who may be feeling isolated during COVID-19. Here, Colin prepares to deliver a couple of self-care gift bags to seniors in need. The Government of Canada provided the funds through its Emergency Community Support Fund granting program.

Colin McCrae volunteers at We Are Young, a Nova Scotia-based non-profit that is using funds received from the Red Cross to reach out to more seniors who may be feeling isolated during COVID-19. Here, Colin prepares to deliver a couple of self-care gift bags to seniors in need. The Government of Canada provided the funds through its Emergency Community Support Fund granting program. 


Each bag is reusable and filled to the brim with personal essentials and fun items such as puzzles, tea, baked goods, a comforting note, and even Nova Scotia pins from the lieutenant governor’s office.  
 
“After the recent mass shooting, we felt adding the Nova Scotia pins would be a good idea,” said Mahoney.
 
The pandemic has been a blessing too, Mahoney adds. “It’s opened our eyes to new opportunities. With the funding, we’re now reaching far more seniors than we ever imagined.”
Marion Conrad is one of more than 500 seniors in Nova Scotia to receive a self-care gift bag from We Are Young. The non-profit is using funds received from the Red Cross to distribute the bags to seniors who may be feeling isolated during COVID-19.

Marion Conrad is one of more than 500 seniors in Nova Scotia to receive a self-care gift bag from We Are Young. The non-profit is using funds received from the Red Cross to distribute the bags to seniors who may be feeling isolated during COVID-19.

 
WAY is currently planning further outreach to diverse communities in the province with a goal of gifting 4,000 bags by the end of the year.
 
“It's important to remember that the loneliness many of us have felt during this isolation is how many seniors feel in their everyday lives,” said Mahoney. “Now more than ever, this generation needs to feel connected and appreciated.”
 
The Canadian Red Cross is funding the continuation of this work thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund granting program.
 
If your organization is a non-profit that delivers services to those who are the most vulnerable to the health and social impacts of COVID-19 you may also be eligible for grant funding or free personal protective equipment (PPE) and training.
 
A second round of funding, PPE and training is being made available beginning October 5, 2020. For more information, please visit www.redcross.ca/communityorganizations.

 


 

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