The government has called the city to shut down (malls closings, churches locking their doors, playgrounds taped up, tables put away in restaurants, etc.) but The Dale has been making some adjustments to keep going, amidst the closures, following the new rules that pop up day to day.
Many have asked me what The Dale has been doing during the pandemic. Since this has been my first week back, after self-isolating, this is how it went:
Monday still involved lunch, but instead they were packed in to-go boxes. Then, through Second Harvest and the generous donations of many, we got to give out full bags of fresh groceries.
Tuesday we had our usual staff meeting, but this time we met in a video call from our homes and followed that with admin stuff on our own. Wednesday we worked as a team creating our breakfast which we served on Thursday in the morning; all while keeping the safe distance required.
It’s quite a change, especially for a group that loves to hug.
Going downtown on my first day (Monday), I had no idea what to expect. Friends have been asking me how the community was doing and I never knew what to say since I hadn’t been there myself. Honestly I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard from the people that came throughout the lunch. It’s not a question that this is a hard time, I do worry about many who struggle with the isolation. Drop-in centers throughout the city are closing or changing, grocery stores are limited, and freedom is lost. But nonetheless, I felt greeted with a strong positivity that caught me off guard.
I was expecting people to be frustrated with the change in how we serve food, but I was met with gratitude. I was surprised by how many people had something encouraging to say. One gentleman said, “It sucks, but we’re working together and we’re going to make it.”
I felt hopeful talking to people, which was a stark contrast compared to how I had been feeling when I was stuck at home watching the news. Going outside seemed scary, but instead of devastation I saw hope. I saw people sharing what little they had, neighbours helping neighbours, air hugs, and the body of Christ coming together.