A Challenging Finish to DG Lion Debbra’s Year

Lion Keld, provided a photo of (then 1st VDG) Lion Debbra and him above her banner at the 2019 Convention venue.

2020 produced quite a start to the year for Lion Debbra. COVID 19 was spreading throughout the world silently passing from one person to the next during a brief time when we were unaware of its deadly path. January was the last meeting of the Cabinet and March was the end of all face to face meetings. We became familiar with new phrases, ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolation’, ‘global pandemic’ and realized our world had changed and our ability to work within it would have to change as well.

The Convention planning, well underway was cancelled and the Convention Committee began meetings via Zoom to work through the process of shutting everything down while meeting our obligations to Lions Int’l in terms of our AGM. Interesting times.

Through it all, DG Lion Debbra encouraged Lions to continue doing what they always do – serve! But, how to do that now? Of course Lions always find a way and some of the restrictions required dictated adaptations to find a new way of serving our communities.

Did we always get it right, probably not, but, the communities we serve needed us to continue trying.

To DG Lion Debbra, 1st DG Lion Anne, 2nd DG Lion Carmen, GAT Team Chairs, Zone Chairs and Committee Chairs, thank you for your strength during this time, for finding ways to move forward and for letting all of the Lions of District A5 know, they can and will continue to serve, albeit in a new way.

COVID-19 Challenges and Opportunities

Lions would normally be in the forefront of any situation, providing service, relief or applying for funds to provide remediation in a disaster. So, what can Lions do now? What kind of service can they provide? It’s not in their nature to be thinking only of their own well-being. They have communities to defend.

By now, we’re familiar with the terms ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’. It’s what is needed at this time and we hope that all of our Lions family are being vigilant and observing the requirements to keep them safe.

There are challenges. For some with pre-existing health issues, isolation provides limited exposure and the ability to keep possible sources of contamination away from them, but, it could also be tremendously lonely. Seniors who still live in their own homes and have to stay away from the very things that bring meaning into their day to day lives are suffering. With just over 2,000 cases in Canada, it may not seem like a lot, but, the potential for disaster is lurking in that little virus. Globally, we’re on our way to containing it and hopefully, over the next month or so, we will be able to see the end of one of the most devastating health issues that has been seen in this country since SARS.

We’ve also seen the mercenary side of living in a crisis situation. It’s something that goes on everyday around the globe, but, is also something we in North America believed we were above. It showed the baser side of humanity – hoarding products, fighting in stores over toilet paper, buying up essential supplies and reselling them online at a profit. That’s not us, that’s not our nature, or so we thought.

There are service opportunities – neighbours who we know need something and can’t get out can have it delivered by one of those who check on them to ensure they are ok and have what they need. Meals provided to seniors, not by Meals on Wheels, which has provided this service for years, but, by organizations with commercial kitchens where all functions have been cancelled. Masks being made by individuals with sewing machines to provide to front-line service workers at hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes and clinics, but, also to service providers in trucking, construction, food service. And those within the homeopathy group providing recipes for the use of essential oils, vinegar, rubbing alcohol and hand-sanitizer.

This too shall pass and then there will be even more to do to assist in re-building the community connections, supporting the most vulnerable and bringing a sense of well-being back. But, for now, stay safe and wash, wash, wash!