Patricia Kolida, Neh'Tanis Taylor and Joan Richardson met up on-site early in the day to prepare Positive Living North's Indigenous People's Day of Wellness Event.
This summer in Smithers, the team at Positive Living North shared a meal that brought together culture and community to celebrate a day of wellness.
A small but mighty team of three staff members from Positive Living North and one community Elder brought together more than 60 community members for an afternoon of bannock tacos, leaving everyone with smiles. Positive Living North offers services to support individuals who are affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C. It also operates a harm reduction site.
This event was supported through the FNHA's Indigenous People's Day of Wellness Grants. Safety measures ensured that those taking part could enjoy their lunch together.
Connecting without connectivity
A major factor that shaped the Positive Living team's approach to planning their event was accessibility.
According to Patricia Kolida, the team's Community Health Coordinator, a lot of people who connect with the organization's services do not have permanent housing, whether they are experiencing homelessness or in a stage of transition. Positive Living also works with a number of community members who are elderly or low-income, so staff recognized early on that a virtual event could pose a barrier to these people.
By ensuring they included COVID-19 safety measures in their event plan, the team was excited to provide an Indigenous People's Day of Wellness event open to all members of their community.
Coming together as a community, for their community
The team dedicated the day before the event to making sure everything was ready to go on National Indigenous People's Day.
The team was grateful for their community's support, which included donations of buffalo meat for the tacos as well as bread and cookies. They were especially grateful to have an Elder, Stan Namox, join them to prepare the bannock in the morning.
A welcome opportunity to build community bonds
The Positive Living team served lunch through the windows as an extra layer of protection in light of COVID-19. Every lunch they handed out came individually wrapped and came with disposable utensils, water bottles and napkins.
The usual lunch program is dine-in but, according to Patricia, safety has been a priority.
“People had been really missing that sense of connection," she said. “It felt really great that we were able to share this with them and build that sense of community again."
More than 60 people participated in the lunch and it ended up a lively event that was enjoyed just as much by the Positive Living team as it was by the community members who took part.
About FNHA Wellness Grants
Twice a year, the FNHA distributes Wellness Grants to support events and initiatives that celebrate culture, resilience and community in a safe way by practicing physical distancing. This series of grants is intended to recognize the important role that community leadership plays in supporting the health and well-being of Indigenous individuals, families and communities across BC.
First Nations communities, schools, and organizations that provide wellness services to Indigenous British Columbians will be eligible for up to $1,000 to conduct their own event or initiative. To qualify for a grant, ensure that your organization or school has up-to-date wellness grant reports by emailing Active@fnha.ca.
Stay tuned to learn more about the upcoming 2021 Winter Wellness Grants.