By Jensen, Randy on April 8, 2020.
As part of a larger wellness project with the City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge Public Interest Group (LPIRG) has partnered with Volunteer Lethbridge and CMHA Southern Region to connect city households to bridge the gap between accessibility.
The Postcard Program was designed to connect areas of the city and to give people with limited or no internet accessibility the opportunity to connect with neighbours, receive information and access help. Jennifer Prosser, LPIRG executive director, says the postcard pamphlets will provide community members with a good list of information and accessibilities available over the phone.
“We are working to help connect folks who are isolated or don’t have access or reliable internet or devices for internet to find resources that they can find over the phone,” says Prosser. “The postcards are printed pieces of paper, there are two different kinds, one is an image on the front and the back has a section for individuals where they can fill out their name, email, phone number and drop it off to people who live close to me and they can get in touch with me for a chat or if they need groceries. The other copy of that has information and resources that people can access if they need help, if they need to connect with someone to talk to, if they need information on quarantine that the City is offering.”
With the majority of people transferring into the digital age over the last number of years, others have not and with everyone moving to isolation or quarantine, many individuals are feeling the pressures of social distancing.
“We know that right now in a time of physical distancing that it is a real struggle for a lot of people and there is a lot of assumptions that everyone can access support, information and connection with people through online methods,” says Prosser. “But the reality is that not everyone has access to the internet and not everybody has a reliable device to access the internet, particularly if you are isolated by yourself without anyone else. It can be very lonely and distressing, so this is a way to make sure that everybody in our city and in our community knows that they can reach out for support and that we are in this together, and they are not just on their own.”
Currently, the postcard team has had a good start with the number of volunteers who have dedicated the time to start passing the postcards out in their neighbourhood. Prosser says the response in the first round of deliveries has been largely positive from everyone.
“We have had 50 people sign up to deliver postcards in their neighbourhoods and of those 50 people, 17 people have started dropping the postcards off in people’s mail boxes. It is contact free and we are asking people to not knock on the door and have a conversation because we want to respect that some people might be in quarantine or some people might have immune compromised systems,” says Prosser. “The feedback we have received so far has been incredibly positive, I think. Just that neighbour-to-neighbour connection of just saying ‘I’m here if you need support,’ I think is really appreciated by folks right now.”
Community members are encouraged to participate in the Postcard Program to help neighbours who may be struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to volunteer in delivering postcards in your neighbourhood, visit volunteerlethbridge.com, or email Prosser for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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