This situation comes as a surprise to all of us: the Coronavirus has changed our lives. We had to take actions to support local Polish Community in Manitoba. It has been a test of human solidarity.
On March 23rd, 2020, the Board of Canadian Polish Congress Manitoba District appointed the Covid-19 Committee coordinated by Margaret von Lau, Katarzyna Rdzanek-Hodor and Tomasz Simon Biel. Members of Polish organizations have been invited to participate. The Committee’s task is to coordinate and organize financial and food aid as well as informing our community about the situation in the Province.
We received our first request from the Canadian Polish Manor. Up until now their residents have managed to handle different life situations themselves but due to pandemic they became stranded at home. The elderly do not have computers nor they use the internet which, in the current situation, solve a lot of different provision issues. We were able to pass the relevant information on to organizations and arrange support.
Members of the Polish Gymnastic Association Sokol St. Boniface purchased food products and prepared soup and a cake for the seniors. The Polish Canadian Women Association in Manitoba organized fundraising and bought basic food products which were handed in to those who need it most. Likewise, members of the Polish Museum “Ogniwo” collected funds and donated it to the management of the Canadian Polish Manor. Members of the Polish Combatants Association in Canada Branch no. 13 as well as SPK Iskry handed over disinfectant products to the Canadian Polish Manor. Private Individuals answered the call as well and provided the seniors with food or monetary funds. Because of all of these funds, free meals can be offered to those residents who need it the most.
The Covid-19 Committee organized an initiative of sewing protective masks which was coordinated by the representatives of Covid-19 Committee and the Polish Gymnastic Association Sokol Winnipeg. Six volunteers sewed around 300 masks. The materials and accessories needed to prepare them were provided by the President of Sokol. Each of the volunteers was equipped by a set containing material, rubber band and a bag. The ready-made masks were given to the Polish stores in Winnipeg where are available free of charge.
Single Protective Masks have been also received by private donors. There were also given to, among other places, the seniors of the Canadian Polish Manor.
Beside the direct support, coordinators of the Covid-19 Committee have been providing information about the situation in the Province during the pandemic, safety measures and restrictions introduced by the Province’s authorities. This information were distributed through the www.kpkmanitoba.ca website, FB profile and Radio PoLonia.