As Saskatchewan begins to reopen in the south, COVID-19 continues to spread in the north. La Loche and the surrounding areas have been hit particularly hard.
With this news, musician Eliza Doyle and trauma counsellor Lori Petruskevich decided they wanted to help. The duo is teaming up to coordinate the delivery of homemade masks to residents in the areas that need it most.
Doyle said people started reaching out to her because she has connections in the north. She contacted Petruskevich, who lives in Saskatoon but has worked in La Loche for the last four years.
Doyle said in the last week they’ve sent about 300 masks. There are point people in Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Nokomis. She said people can help from anywhere.
“If you have fabric or face masks or if you want a pattern or if you want to donate money to help with shipping costs, people are just really coming together,” Doyle said.
“It kind of takes all hands on deck, all hearts on deck,” she said. “I think it helps people put it together if they know they’re doing something or they can try to do something to help out.”
Doyle said if people want to help they can look her up on social media and contact her there.
Petruskevich said they are launching an online challenge on Monday, which will hopefully see people performing some cool dance moves with their masks on.
“A lot of people are feeling very disconnected between the north and the south and I think that that is really tragic. It’s always been there, it’s stronger now,” Petruskevich said.
“What we’re hoping is that hopefully with these challenges, that they won’t just be within the communities but … all over, connecting the hearts.”
Petruskevich said she is trying to see the opportunities for good within the pandemic, instead of just the negatives.
“With this crisis, we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to reach out, connect in a kind and caring, lasting way so that hopefully even this mask project could become something more meaningful and deeper of connections between peoples, between communities.”