INNISFAIL – A pair of local ladies have opened up their hearts to give the town, and even the world, a simple, glorious chance to see sunshine and smile.
Their tonic for locals to get past the COVID-19 blues is the Neighbourhood Window Walk where everyone can still practise social distancing but be outdoors to get exercise and view beautiful art on the windows of dozens of local homes.
“The whole coronavirus spread and the media about it was definitely the inspiration for this,” said local mom Brittany Letourneau. “So many people were talking about how afraid they were and how much they were panicking and anytime I would log on (to internet) that was all I would see, people from our community talking about how afraid they were and how they can’t get away from the media.”
But there was one page on Facebook that was an exception, said Letourneau. That page was called Easter Egg Hunt 2020 With Social Distancing. It made Letourneau smile.
“It was just full of so much happiness with people posting pictures of their craft windows, artwork and all this stuff, and I thought this is just wonderful and I wanted to part of this group,” said Letourneau, who added herself to the Easter Egg Hunt page and shared it with local people and groups.
Letourneau’s friend, Innisfailian Christine Hobbs, also thought it was a great idea but observed it was difficult to find local people because the site had thousands of members from across Canada and the United States. Hobbs then decided to make a page for locals based on the Easter Egg Hunt page.
“I quickly realized that for my children to benefit we needed a local group so it’s easier to find which houses we can see decorated,” said Hobbs. “With being isolated and away from school friends it’s been a great way to stay entertained while keeping spirits up.”
On the morning of March 20 the Innisfail, AB Neighbourhood Window Walk page on Facebook was born. Innisfail had let its own sunshine beam on the world.
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Letourneau said last week that within three days the new online group attracted 163 members, with 30 of them posting photos of their windows displaying art.
“The purpose of it is to show solidarity within our community by showing happy posts and these pictures on our windows. And even though we have to continue practising our social distancing, we can go for a walk and see a little bit of sunshine in certain windows that we pass by,” said. Letourneau.
“It gives you another thing to look for when you are enjoying the fresh air. Even for people who can’t make it outside they can still go onto this page and see all the crafts and good creativity and the sunshine through their neighbours or other local Innisfail residents throughout the community.”
She said the community-based project in Innisfail has spread out to several neighbourhoods in town -- from the Raspberry Park area to homes on 45th Street, and to 49th and 50th avenues. The initiative in town can also be a boost for parents who need to find an interesting and fun way to engage socially isolated children who may be feeling antsy about spending so much time confined at home.
“When we take the kids out they can see, ‘oh, look what I found in the window’ or ‘do you see that over there?’ It becomes more involved instead of just going for a walk to get fresh air,” said Letourneau, who has a four-year-old son, an 18-month-old daughter and is expecting another child. “Yes, you still need to be beware but we can’t let that fear take over our entire life. There is still more to see.”
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