In the days following the intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia, islanders have come up with creative ways to help one another (by a distance) through these times.
We intend this to be a resource for islanders, if there's something we haven't included please email email@example.com.
The Flatten the Curve – Bowen Island on Facebook
Maureen Nicholson started Flatten the Curve – Bowen Island (now called Flatten the Curve – Bowen Island Help and Local Info). The term is best shown in an internet- circulating graph that shows how slowing the corona virus outbreak reduces the strain on the health care system (so fewer people are needing medical care at once). Social distancing, self-monitoring and self-isolating are some of the measures that have been recommended by health authorities to slow the virus’s spread (see here for more details) besides washing your hands frequently and coughing into your elbow. The Flatten the Curve – Bowen Island group description says that the group is for “Posts requesting help or offering help for those that are sick, quarantined, or self-isolating and living on Bowen Island.” The group is private so one must request or be invited to join it.
Other groups that have popped up to suppord islanders during COVID include the Viral Kindness Avaaz Inspired Support Group, Bowen what did you do today? Pandemic-centric., and HOB Homelearning on Bowen.
Neighbourhoods are mobilizing through Facebook and by calling around to offer help to people self-isolating, who are elderly or otherwise may be in need of support.
However, some neighbourhoods are mobilizing independently and some NERP volunteers are identifying themselves publicly.
“The Bluewater community has been hard at work creating a support system for their neighbourhood. If you are a Bluewater or King Edward Bay resident and need support during the COVID-19 outbreak, and would love a little extra help with groceries, prescription, mail or errands, please reach out to Judy at 604-947-0343 or Diane at 604-861-7334. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional community resources can be found online at: www.bluewateronbowen.com and www.facebook.com/groups/bluewateronbowen,” said a representative for the Bluewater initiative.
For Deep Bay:
There's the new Deep Bay Neighbours Facebook group. Deep Bay NERP volunteer Judi Gedye wrote a letter online requesting help contacting all the neighbourhood residents without making physical contact or leaving papers.
“We need contact information (phone numbers and email) as soon as possible, and at the same time, without invading anyone's privacy, we need to figure out who might need what kind of assistance. We also need to find volunteers willing to help, in ways that are safe for everyone. Public health is stressing no personal contact and that includes leaving printed material at the door,” wrote Gedye. “The best news is that we are a small, close-knit neighbourhood so we probably do know how to reach all of our neighbours. I would ask each of us to telephone (preferably) or email as many neighbours as we have phone numbers for and ask if their number can be shared to the NERP organizers––not for publication and not for widespread distribution; just for the NERP volunteers in Deep Bay. NERP will create a list of names, addresses, closest neighbours, contact info and whether they would like to be contacted in future.”
If you are a Deep Bay resident please contact Judi Gedye 778-871-6267 (call or text), 604-947-0105, email@example.com; Rebecca Hurst: 778-320-3152 (call or text), firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Edwards: 604-947-0477, email@example.com; or Maureen Witney: 604-947-2070, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Cates Hill, there's the Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association Facebook group.
For Scarborough there's the Scarborough Neighbourhood Page.
For Queen Charlotte Heights:
In the Flatten the Curve Facebook group, NERP volunteer Brenda McLuhan shared a letter similar to Gedye’s and added, “If you live on Channelview, Cliff Road or Taylor from Channelview down to where the cliffs start, we are asking that you please send us an email with your street address, telephone number(s) and email address. If you have contact information for your neighbours, please ask them if that information can be shared with us (the NERP organizers)––not for publication and not for widespread distribution.” The NERP volunteers for Queen Charlotte Heights (printed with their permission) are Judith Heezen (email@example.com), Joyce Ganong (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Brenda McLuhan (email@example.com).
For the Tunstall Bay neighbourhood: Tunstall Bay Residents Facebook group.
For Sunset Drive and Josephine Ridge: Josephine Ridge and Sunset Neighbours
Building an online community
Rob Dufty shared on Facebook a new Bowen Island COVID-19 guide with community resources and information.
Those islanders who are self-isolating because they’ve returned from out of country, have been exposed to the virus in some way or are feeling at all ill, those social distancing and those minimizing social contact are banding together online to keep spirits up and stave off loneliness. Chris Corrigan started the google doc, “Bowen Islanders willing to be online with you” (see http://bit.ly/IslandersOnline) As of Tuesday evening, the document had eleven people offering to talk to other islanders over the phone, text, Facebook, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Icouch (this varies by person).
“I saw a post on [Flatten the Curve – Bowen Island] from someone who was feeling anxious and afraid and who is self-isolating. I spend my professional life hosting conversations and listening to folks deal with change and I know others on Bowen do as well,” wrote Corrigan in a message with the Undercurrent. “I just wanted us to be able to connect with folks who feel like self-isolation means being alone. That’s scary for some folks. It doesn’t have to mean that.”
Island guitar teacher John Stiver is doing regular online guitar tips videos from his Facebook page. “Daily guitar tips that range from advice for beginners to more advanced improvisation and exercises,” said Stiver in an email. “It’s just a little something that will give people something to do at home.”
Michael Nankin, a producer, director and writer who moved to Bowen from Los Angeles, started an online film festival called “Covideo.” Every day Nankin will post on Facebook (and share with the Undercurrent) a short or clip "with the intent to make our isolation a bit more bearable."
"I'm trying to keep them bright and positive––a little cinematic 'amuse bouche,'" wrote Nankin in an email.
The Nankin and his wife Liz currently in self-isolation until March 28 having recently returned from Los Angeles. Nankin says they're both feeling fine.
The video below is the first video in the series.
As many organizations have suspended in-person meetings and shuttered their doors for now, the Bowen Island Community Foundation has offered access to its Zoom online meeting account to Bowen-based organizations. “We have a limited capacity so will need to make a list and try to distribute effectively. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” said a post on its Facebook page. The foundation has added Bowen Children’s Centre, BIRCH, the Hearth and Snug Cove Society to its account and has only a few more licenses left as of Tuesday.
Virtual coffee shop
The Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation is providing a virtual coffee shop in the mornings and afternoons.
"Hours will be adjusted as traffic warrants," reads a post on the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation Facebook page.
"All Bowen Islanders are welcome. The coffee shop is provided to promote friendly interaction and will not be moderated; however, if interaction ceases to be friendly and polite, individuals may be blocked or the coffee shop may be closed," said the post. "Participation is limited and first come first serve."
Artisan Office has also started offering a free courier service to those in isolation. For that story see here.
Supporting local businesses
The Community Economic Development Committee has started hosting weekly business meetups over Zoom every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Chris Corrigan facilitates the meetings, the first of which saw more than 80 businesses participating. See more information here.
Foodbank operating under a new format
"Our new Food Bank System is now in place at Bowen Island United Church-1122 Miller Road," wrote Rev. Lorraine Ashdown of the United Church on Facebook. "You can come to the food bank at any time and fill out a small form that lets us know how many people you need to feed and how we can contact you. Please slip your form under the door to the church. We will fill your order and arrange with you for a time to pick it up. If picking it up presents challenges for you we can also arrange for delivery. We want to assure everyone that full confidentiality will be our practice. Food can be picked up on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We are here to help through this very challenging time so please do not hesitate to be in touch with us. You can also place an order by emailing email@example.com or, in an emergency, please call Sue Clarke at 604-947-2364."
"The food bank has been very thankful for your food donations in the past, unfortunately food can no longer be accepted. We are very grateful for monetary donations which can be sent by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org," said Ashdown in a different post.
Bowen Island Accessibility Group and Camp Bowen Society
Bowen Island Accessibility Group and Camp Bowen Society have launched a website that acts as a sort of hub for local COVID-related information.
Among their initiatives are matching "people with volunteers and other community resources that can help access supplies, community supports, and medical appointment transportation," phone access to the Undercurrent (call in and have the paper read to you), and home delivery and medical transport. Read more at bowencommunity.ca or here.
Actor's Foundry offering free lifetime subscription to its online Actor's Campus
The Actor’s Foundry, a school for aspiring and professional actors, is offering Bowen Island actors (from early teens up) a free lifetime subscription to its online Actor’s Campus.
The campus an online hub that has classes, inspirations, resources and assignments.
Though its physical school is in Vancouver, the Actor’s Foundry office is on Bowen where owner Matthew Harrison and his family live. The school also holds an annual retreat at the Bowen Lodge.
“We have been thinking about how we can help our island during this time of isolation and social distancing, and how to help with home schooling and keeping active,” said Harrison in an email.
Those who are interested can see more information here and to register, go here and click “LifetimeAccess” and enter the code BOWENlifetime.
The offer is only open to Bowen Islanders.
Bowen Island Football Club's BIFC@home challenge
Bowen's local soccer club is challenging folks to send in videos showcasing skill, initiative and creativity in keeping soccer active while at home. "The best three videos will be announced and posted on April 10 with the winner receiving a Whitecaps training jersey and some BIFC swag," says a tweet from the club.
Welcome to the BIFC @ Home Challenge. Send us a video showcasing skill, initiative and creativity of what you are doing at home to stay soccer active. Send your entry to email@example.com before April 9 (5 pm). Here is an example of what we are looking for: pic.twitter.com/c1jdSpWsLk— Bowen Island FC (@BowenFC) April 2, 2020
Nature Club posting daily outdoor activities
"Every day for the next two weeks we will post a family-friendly, nature-inspired outdoor activity, many of which can be done in your own backyard," the club posted on Facebook March 19. "We encourage you to observe the recommended physical distancing precautions and undertake the suggested activities in unpopulated areas."