Lo­cal non-prof­its re­ceive do­na­tions from Swift Cur­rent quilt­ing and sew­ing group

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Matthew Lieben­berg

mlieben­berg@prairiepos­t.com

Res­i­dents at the Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates re­tire­ment home in Swift Cur­rent have been in iso­la­tion for sev­eral weeks dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic, but it did not stop them from giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

Mem­bers of the quilt­ing and sew­ing group at Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates have made over 500 face masks that raised funds for two lo­cal non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Krista Caswell, the ac­tiv­ity di­rec­tor at the re­tire­ment home, said about 13 res­i­dents par­tic­i­pated in the project, which raised $1,800 through the sale of face masks to res­i­dents, fam­ily mem­bers and some com­mu­nity mem­bers.

“I think it def­i­nitely gave them a sense of pur­pose, be­cause our doors had to be closed to fam­ily mem­bers and it was just staff and res­i­dents that were in our build­ing,” she noted. “It gave them a sense of nor­malcy too.”

Mem­bers of the group were still able to go to the craft room, where some made face masks while keep­ing their phys­i­cal dis­tance. Others col­lected the ma­te­ri­als from the craft room and then sewed in their suites.

“So they were able to work on a project and it passed the time, and they knew that they were do­ing some­thing worth­while that not only our res­i­dents needed, but their fam­ily mem­bers needed in the com­mu­nity too,” she said. “It was just a sense of pur­pose and it re­ally helped with their men­tal health as well, I think.”

The size of the craft room made it easy for the mem­bers of the group to keep a safe phys­i­cal dis­tance from each other while they were work­ing.

“Our craft room is quite large,” she said. “So we would only have about four ladies in there at a time, and they would all take their cor­ner, and dif­fer­ent ladies would come down and they would grab the sup­plies that were pre-cut and that just needed to be sewed. They would take it up to their suites, just be­cause we did need to watch for so­cial dis­tanc­ing and it was at the height of it. So we didn’t know where COVID was. We just made sure our res­i­dents were safe, be­cause that’s the most im­por­tant.”

Caswell felt the project was also a morale booster for the other res­i­dents at Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates dur­ing a pe­riod of iso­la­tion due to the COVID-19 pub­lic health mea­sures.

“With the group of ladies that were sew­ing, it re­ally helped them pass the time, and other res­i­dents could see what they were do­ing,” she said. “It gave us a sense of be­long­ing in our build­ing and a sense of pur­pose.”

Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates im­ple­mented var­i­ous mea­sures in March to pro­tect res­i­dents dur­ing the pan­demic. Ac­cess to the build­ing was re­stricted to res­i­dents and staff only, and fam­ily mem­bers and other vis­i­tors were not al­lowed.

Phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing mea­sures and ad­di­tional clean­ing pro­ce­dures have been im­ple­mented in­side the build­ing. It meant that many of the so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for res­i­dents could not take place any longer.

“I had to stop my ac­tiv­i­ties, just be­cause our ac­tiv­i­ties could draw in any­where from 60 to 100 of our res­i­dents,” she said. “So it’s very hard to keep ev­ery­one dis­tanced with those num­bers.”

Staff con­tin­ued to create a re­lax­ing at­mos­phere for res­i­dents to help them to deal with the pan­demic sit­u­a­tion. They had mu­sic play­ing in the hall­ways, and games were avail­able in the main ar­eas for in­di­vid­ual res­i­dents to use. Caswell set up an ac­tiv­ity wall where res­i­dents can pick up crafts and puz­zles for recre­ation in their own suites.

“Just lit­tle things to keep them busy and be­ing able to just come out of their suite, grab a new ac­tiv­ity and go back up to their suite re­ally helped,” she said.

Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates is now fol­low­ing the guide­lines of the Saskatchew­an Health Au­thor­ity to al­low fam­ily mem­bers to visit res­i­dents.

“In or­der to come visit a res­i­dent here, you need to make an ap­point­ment,” she said. “Then we ask them a var­ied amount of ques­tions and we take their tem­per­a­tures, just to make sure that we have a good log book, and they can only come dur­ing Mon­day to Fri­day, eight to four, to mon­i­tor who is com­ing in and who is com­ing out of our build­ing.”

The eas­ing of re­stric­tions to al­low vis­i­tors made it pos­si­ble for the quilt­ing and sew­ing group to do cheque pre­sen­ta­tions on June 9 to the two non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions that were se­lected to re­ceive the money raised through the sale of the face masks.

The Cen­ter and the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion Swift Cur­rent branch each re­ceived a do­na­tion of $900.

“The group to­gether made that de­ci­sion” Caswell said about the se­lec­tion of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. “They looked at the com­mu­nity and how it was be­ing af­fected by COVID-19, and which or­ga­ni­za­tions would re­ally need it the most.”

The group se­lected The Cen­ter due to its ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­vide sup­port to youth in the com­mu­nity. The group also felt the fund­ing will ben­e­fit The Cen­ter’s ex­panded meal pro­gram, which was started in March to sup­port youth and fam­i­lies dur­ing the pan­demic.

The group re­al­ized that men­tal health ser­vices have be­come even more im­por­tant dur­ing the pan­demic, and they there­fore wanted to make a do­na­tion to the lo­cal Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion branch.

The mem­bers of the quilt­ing and sew­ing group are not mak­ing face masks at the mo­ment and they are tak­ing a bit of a break.

“They haven’t been mak­ing face masks lately, but that’s just be­cause the re­quests for them have less­ened,” she said. “The ma­jor­ity of all res­i­dents here at Riverview were able to get two face masks each and then the com­mu­nity mem­bers were able to get some too. So the re­quests have stopped.”

The group will work on var­i­ous projects through­out the year and in the past they have used their ac­tiv­i­ties to raise funds for dif­fer­ent non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“Last year they made a beau­ti­ful quilt and we raf­fled it off, and that money went to Telemir­a­cle,” she re­called. “They sell quilts through­out the year. So they’ll work on lit­tle quilts, blan­kets, they do lit­tle items for grand­kids. They make lit­tle aprons and things like that for kids, and through­out the year they just sell them and at the end of the year they look at where they want to do­nate. Last year they ac­tu­ally do­nated $200 to each of the schools for their break­fast pro­grams. They’ve do­nated to the Sal­va­tion Army be­fore, the safe shel­ter, things like that. They re­ally do try to make sure that they touch at least ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion in Swift Cur­rent.”

The mem­bers of the quilt­ing and sew­ing group at Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates dur­ing the cheque pre­sen­ta­tion to The Cen­ter Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Nathan Wiebe, June 9. He is stand­ing at right in the back row, wearing a face mask.

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates

The Cen­ter Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Nathan Wiebe re­ceives a cheque of $900 from Ev Diguer, a mem­ber of the quilt­ing and sew­ing group at Riverview Vil­lage Es­tates.

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