Together Apart: Reimagining Christmas Dinner
As we watch the pandemic take its horrible toll on the world, it is clear that Christmas this year will look quite different for all of us. This is also true at Communitas Supportive Care Society. One of its most beloved traditions has had to be reimagined in a way that will continue to keep people safe but still support people in a meaningful way.
For more than two decades, Communitas has hosted a lunch on Christmas Day for people they serve who would otherwise be alone. In a normal year, more than 60 people would gather for an afternoon of games, gifts, and carol singing and be served a full ham dinner. This year, due to the necessary restrictions placed upon all of us, this Christmas Day experience will be a virtual one.
“What is most important to us is that no one is alone on Christmas Day,” says CEO, Karyn Santiago. “Our team of staff and volunteers have worked hard to plan this dinner in a way that keeps us as connected as we possibly can be and still ensure that everyone is safe.”
Instead of meeting in person, guests will meet via Zoom. For those who have limited access to devices that make this possible, those will be provided along with training on how to use the meeting platform. This virtual connection will enable everyone to participate in beloved games like BINGO and to sing along with carols led by a staff person from his home. While everyone is enjoying this part of the party, volunteers will be cooking, packaging, and delivering that traditional ham dinner to everyone’s home so that they can all eat together. Along with their dinner, they’ll also received wrapped gifts that have been donated. Karyn is moved by the deep commitment that staff and volunteers have shown to this event and to ensuring that everyone stays safe.
“We know that it is important for us to follow the guidelines set out for us by the Provincial Health Officer,” she says. “Even though this means that we’ll be physically apart, we still want the people we serve to know that they are loved and valued. Hopefully, enjoying Christmas Dinner together this way will be a meaningful experience.”