During the 2017 wildfires, Kamloops residents came out in droves to lend a hand, attending the evacuation centre to counsel neighbours from other communities or hand out pet food.
However, as the global COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in Kamloops, those who want to help are stuck at home. As a result, a technological renaissance of sorts is occurring online as residents look out for each other in myriad ways.
KTW has compiled a sampling of businesses and individuals doing things to help everyone get through this difficult and uncertain time. If you know of any other heroes in our community who are shining bright and leading by example, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will update this list online as a resource for the community:
• A group of about 75 residents operating under the moniker the Kamloops Meal Train are putting together meals and distributing them to those in need, while self-isolating at home. Volunteers are grocery shopping, making meals and delivering them on the streets. Earlier this week, the group handed out chicken noodle soup and ham and cheese sandwiches to 80 people in North Kamloops and downtown. One of the organizers, Glenn Hilke, said that group emerged as a result of reduced social services available in town, amid the pandemic.
“We realized there were so many gaps in meals throughout the city and now there were days when there was absolutely no food available in an emergency basis,” he told KTW. “We realized that there were a lot of people, their routines have broken down. It’s all been disrupted. We started just driving around as mobile food units.” The group has five drivers, who deliver meals every day from noon to 1:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Bonnie McBride is organizing the meals and different individuals, including the former United Way executive director Danalee Baker, have signed up to cook meals on a daily basis through the next two weeks. The group is accepting ingredients and monetary donations and has so far collected about $800 toward the effort. To make a donation, e-transfer email@example.com.
• Pizza Pi has teamed up with with The Big Edition newspaper to help feed those in need. The downtown pizzeria is accepting donations and is in return handing out slices of pizza and drinks to the homeless and those who can’t afford a bite to eat, during the pandemic. Donations are being accepted via e-transfer, from as little as $5. Others have donated hundreds. To contribute to the cause, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit 314 Victoria St., where touchless payments are being offered. The pizzeria is asking that when people are creating a question for the money transfer that they make the answer “pizza.”
• Some Kamloops restaurants are offering discounted meals to health-care workers, who are on the front lines of the pandemic. Peter’s Pasta is thanking “health heroes” for their hard work, by offering hot meals at a discount of 50 per cent off and a free salad to employees of Royal Inland Hospital. The downtown eatery is asking employees to bring their hospital identification when picking up takeout. In addition, Kelly O’Bryans Restaurant is offering 40 per cent off takeout orders for health-care workers.
• The online Facebook group Caremongering Kamloops has signed up more than 200 volunteers in more than a dozen neighbourhoods in the city to help with various tasks, amid the pandemic. The group has started an online network of volunteers, which will be able to aid community requests. Requests are now being accepted online at kamloopscares.ca.
• Earls has launched a program intended to make grocery shopping easier, offering for purchase packs of food, including produce, vegetarian essentials, pantry staples, protein and more. A pantry pack, for example, includes five pounds of all-purpose flour, two pounds of jasmine rice, one pound of quinoa, two pounds of fettuccine noodles, two ounces of black pepper, one kilogram of salt, two ounces of baking powder, two ounces of baking soda, one quart of vegetable oil and eight ounces of olive oil for $30. The grocery packs, as well as regular menu items, are available for delivery.
• Ordered to shutter by Interior Health, Kamloops fitness studios have been posting motivation, workouts and tips and tricks to stay active during the pandemic, under the Facebook group Kamloops at Home Fitness During COVID-19. Earlier this week, Oxygen Kamloops Aberdeen posted a 40-minute high-intensity interval training workout, while Let’s Move streamed live yoga, pilates, strength and conditioning and dance classes. Find also bootcamp classes, burpee challenges and more.
• Avenue Media House is hosting a free online music festival each weekend, featuring local DJs and musicians with hourly sets to keep residents entertained from their own homes. Owner Jesse Faubert said DJs from night clubs in town have so far committed to taking part, providing sounds from venues around the city, which are currently closed due to physical distancing and gathering restrictions currently in place to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The stream is free to watch on Twitch, though donations are being accepted and will be equally divided between artists that play each day. To tune in, go online to https://www.twitch.tv/jessefaubert1/. It runs on Friday and Saturday nights. Avenue Media House is also showcasing other digital products by local creators, including cooking, dance and music lessons, on its Facebook page, with the intent of creating a digital market. Search for Avenue Media House on Facebook.
• Kamloops RCMP, Kamloops Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance paraded earlier this week emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens from the courthouse up Columbia Street toward Royal Inland Hospital in a tribute to health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As first responders, we know what it’s like to face a crisis head-on and to work countless hours for the benefit of others,” Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said. The tribute was intended for nurses, doctors, care-aids and other hospital workers.
• In addition to windows being decorated with hearts and rainbows around the city, residents are adorning sidewalks, fences and even rocks with messages of inspiration and hope to help everyone get through this unprecedented and difficult time. Some messages, include: “stay healthy” and “The world came together as the people stayed apart.”
• Caremongering Kamloops is a Facebook group created in recent days to help support those in need. The group has attracted nearly 2,000 people wishing to lend a hand. Examples of ways in which the group is helping include offering babysitting hours to frontline workers or trips to the grocery store for those who are unable to leave the house. The neighbour-to-neighbour network provides an online platform for people to offer help or organize online activities or request help or join online activities. For more, search for the group on Facebook or go online to kamloopscares.ca.
• Rotarian John Zubak is offering cooking lessons on his Facebook page. The longtime Kamloops volunteer has provided live-on-video instructions for cooking fresh bread and homemade pizza. “There is no need to go out shopping. We’ll explore creative ways to work with what you have in your fridge,” he posted on Monday. “Remember, the best way to keep safe during the pandemic is to keep washing your hands and stay home.”
• The Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association is promoting an initiative that is intended to curb isolation. It’s simple and anyone can do it — walk and wave. Get outside for some fresh air, remaining a safe physical distance from others out in nature, and give those you come into contact a wave. It can be done from the suggested two meters or further away.
• The Mount Paul Community Food Centre is offering bagged takeaway lunches at 140 Laburnum St., from 11 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Thursdays. “Although all our kitchen and garden programs are on pause, we are still offering this lunch for the community in a modified way,” the group posted on its Facebook page. “We hope you are taking care of yourselves. We’ll get through this together.”
• Moon Wok Chinese Restaurant has pledged to deliver two complimentary dinners per night for the next month to an individual or family in need. “We will be choosing the individuals/families from people you tell us about,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. Residents can recommend people for the free meal by privately messaging the company, via its Facebook page, the person’s name, phone number and reason they deserve the gesture.
• Maeghan and Jared Summers of The Noble Pg and Forno on Fifth are among restaurateurs who have donated perishable food items to the Kamloops Food Bank, as their restaurants closed.
• Local musical duo Sabrina Weeks and Mike Hilliard are performing their act live on Facebook on Friday nights, taking requests from the public. The performances are being staged in Weeks’ yoga room and the first show took requests for upbeat rock songs, including Cover of a Rolling Stone by Dr. Hook. Hillard performed in his slippers. “This is so kind of you both!” one listener wrote during the live performance. “Thank you for doing this,” wrote another viewer. “Love your voice.” Find future live performances online on Fridays at 7 p.m. at sabrinaweeks.com.
• North Shore Business Improvement Association marketing director Patti Phillips has created a Loving the Loops bingo card, suggesting residents check some boxes to support local businesses, neighbours and families. A few of the tasks include writing a review for a local business, buying a gift card from a local restaurant, ordering online from a local store, sending virtual hugs to everyone who may need one, fostering a lonely animal from a shelter, having kids chalk happy words onto the sidewalk and putting hearts in your windows for people to see as they are walking.
• Many people around the globe have spread the initiative of putting hearts in their windows, including in Kamloops, as part of the Hearts in Windows movement, which began with a B.C. mom who started a scavenger hunt to stay connected to her community. It has become a symbol for people as a show of solidarity during this time of isolation. To take part, simply paint, sketch or cut out hearts and put the in your front window, facing the street or sidewalk, so that passerby know they are not alone. Other areas of town, including Lower Sahali and Schubert Drive, are seeking sidewalk messages in chalk.
• Another show of solidarity from homes — Valleyview, Sahali, North Kamloops and other neighbourhood residents have been out in their yards or on their front doorsteps at 7 p.m. nightly, banging pots and pans and singing and cheering to signal support for essential service workers. Kamloops residents all over the city are being asked to join in the nightly ritual, as a show of support.
• Fitness gurus in town are taking their classes online. Lacey Hook, owner of Yoga Now Kamloops, Angie Edgson, Oxygen Yoga and Fitness and Yvette Lehman of the Happyness Centre are all offering virtual yoga classes to help people zen out during self-isolation. Find their classes online by searching for them on Facebook. In addition, K-Spin owner Samantha Gibson has been delivering spin bikes to her customers and hosting virtual spin classes, while F3Fit, Kamloops Fit Centre and Orange Theory Fitness are offering home workouts.
• The venerable community cheerleader, Jo Berry, is doing online motivational talks for RunClub members. Find the live event on the Boogie the Bridge Facebook page. Though this year’s event has been cancelled, run training tips continue in Kamloops This Week to help keep you moving during this difficult time.
• A group of crafty Kamloops residents has organized online, with the goal of sewing 10,000 masks for health-care workers. The group provides instructions for how to sew a mask, including what materials can be used. Anyone at home with some extra fabric, a sewing machine and some time, should check out Sew the Curve Kamloops.
• Kamloops photographers are catching onto the Front Steps Project, wherein they drive around the city and take portraits of people on their front steps from a safe distance. “As a photographer, I typically spend hours every week capturing images of families in times of joy: babies on the way, newborns, siblings, grandparents and more,” photographer Peggy Knaak wrote on Facebook. “Those moments of joy are still happening in our homes right now. I know it. But I can’t be there to capture them.” Rachel Campbell is another photographer who has joined the initiative. Find the images on Facebook and Instagram, under the hashtag #thefrontstepsproject.
• Various stores have created dedicated shopping hours for seniors and those with disabilities, along with frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19. These include Shoppers Drug Mart, Superstore, London Drugs and Save-On-Foods. For more, click here.
• There is a movement afoot for people to turn on the Christmas lights that are still on their homes in a collective bid to spread some cheer during the pandemic.