Find Three Buddies
On Monday at the City of Saskatoon’s press conference updating the community on Covid-19, Medical Health Officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo told us to make sure that we each “find three buddies” to be in touch with as this virus unfolds.
I have been thinking about this advice. It didn’t get as much media attention, but it matters.
How we manage through this as a community will not just depend on our individual actions, but our ability to pull together as a community and look out for each other. It matters more than ever who our neighbours are and how they are doing.
Safety and health for our community through this outbreak won’t come from each person stocking up on their own food and toilet paper and getting into a “every person for themselves” mentality. It will come from looking beyond our own situations and looking at how we can band together.
This starts with washing your hands. Washing your hands is an act of safety, and you can also think of it as an act of caring for your neighbours. Same thing with coughing into your sleeve. And staying home if you feel sick.
You can extend this care for the community by thinking about people you know who might be vulnerable or at risk of isolation and making sure they are ok, that they have what they need, and making sure they have your phone number in case they need anything. Find three buddies. People who you can look out for and who can look out for you, in case either of you need to be isolated.
You can extend this care to the community by considering the people who can’t afford to buy a month supply of food to stock up in a pantry. People who don’t have a pantry. People who are already facing compromised health and are now facing the uncertainty of this virus.
You can extend this care for the community by finding ways to support local businesses and their staff who so often are living paycheque to paycheque, spending your money on the small businesses in the community who are facing tremendous uncertainty – from restaurants to retail stores and services. Businesses wondering if people are going to stop going into their stores and if they are going to be able to make payroll with all of the uncertainty we are facing. Supporting the local economy at this time is an act of caring for the community.
I’ve already seen a number of fundraisers for community-based organizations (CBOs) cancelled as well. These fundraising events can be key for the operations of these important CBOs and if you can make donations to support in lieu of showing up to these events, you are caring for the community.
Saskatoon has an incredible spirit. As Mayor, I get to see this every week with the people and organizations I meet and spend time with. We have an unbelievable network of care that is supporting and building up our people. We saw it during the Humboldt Tragedy, we saw it during the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and we will see it now.
Find three buddies. Be a buddy. Let’s look out for each other.