‘LOOK FOR THE HELPERS. You will always find people who are helping.” So said Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers as he is better known. He didn’t just say it once. Again and again he spoke of kindness. Of doing more for others to help them along.
We are now into the grumpy, stressed out, fed-up phase of the pandemic. We’ve entered the third year of COVID, and still we have restrictions. We could all use a bit of Mr. Rogers in our lives right now.
Here in B.C., things are easing somewhat. As of today, indoor personal gatherings can return to normal. Other types of events including indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, restaurants and nightclubs, fitness centres and sports tournaments are at full capacity as well, with the proviso that masks and vaccine cards are still required.
Indoor dancing at organized events is finally allowed again. Dance away but bring your vaccine card and wear a mask.
While things have eased up, there is still tension between those who want the masks to remain, and those who are fed up with wearing them. Between those who want more restrictions, and those who want none at all. There will be stress between those who are worried for their own or their families’ health, and those who feel the restrictions are too onerous and overreaching.
That’s when remembering the words of Mr. Rogers can be so useful.
Masks or no masks, vaccines or no vaccines, there are those who have shown kindness throughout the pandemic. They have been the helpers. Three years into the pandemic they continue to help make things better.
There are the folks who, week after week, prepare meals at PITStop for people in community who live in poverty. Warm, home-cooked meals, with salads, and a dessert, for upwards to 200 people every week.
There’s the woman who goes to the hospice every week to carefully care for the plants. Just one of many volunteers who give their time at the hospice so that others have a warm and inviting place to spend time as they journey to the next life.
There are the shovelers, plowers and flooders who spent hundreds of hours up at Inks Lake this winter transforming it into an outdoor skating mecca, redoing their work again and again every time it thawed, then froze, or snowed once more.
There are Facebook groups specifically dedicated to kindnesses in the city. Someone posts a request for furniture, a ride, or help with the rent, and within short notice, there are responses for help.
One of the biggest kindnesses of all is the tenacity and dedication of groups willing to keep organizing for future events. We have spent the last two years and more having event after event cancelled. So many hours dedicated to events that got cancelled. Even so, there are those willing to start organizing again so that sports tournaments, arts festivals, and other community events can happen.
This spring and summer look great. There’s Boogie the Bridge, and RibFest. There will be a host of sporting events coming to town.
Banquet facilities have said they were booking up fast, even before the announcement for easing of restrictions. People are putting in the time to organize weddings, anniversaries, and other gatherings.
Masks and passports are here for a bit longer, but luckily there are people willing to help us get back to normal. The helpers are making the most of a tough situation, and with a bit of luck, helping organize some great events.
As difficult as the pandemic has been, we can help each other get through this last bit of pandemic restrictions. Or as Mr. Rogers said:
“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to the world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors-in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.