Social isolation impacted many individuals across Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Raymond Wellness Coalition saw the need to support each other and brainstormed ways to increase a sense of community belonging while in a time of physical separation.

The team wanted to reach out to those who felt isolated by offering words of encouragement and information about local support services and volunteer opportunities. RWC knew that raising awareness of available resources and providing ideas on how to get more involved in the community would contribute to a sense of connectedness. The idea to create “A Little Pick Me Up” kit sparked excitement amongst the team members.

The Plan

A plan quickly took shape; to put letters out to the community for donations from businesses and organizations. Boxes and supplies were quickly donated. Resource lists were created. Raymond’s youth got involved by helping assemble one hundred kits for distribution! Several organizations partnered with the RWC to become distribution centers. The library, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and local church groups who offered to hand out the boxes noted how each personal connection with community members helped to build new relationships.

The Outcomes

An evaluation survey was handed out and participants reported that after receiving the kit, they felt more connected to the community; feeling like someone cared about what they were going through. Respondents also reported that they learned about local services they were not previously aware of.

An interagency committee, focused on sustainable community action, reflected on the positive feedback received from the surveys. Further enhancements led to the boxes evolving into a “Welcome Home” package geared toward new residents. These welcome boxes are designed to connect people to local services and volunteer opportunities while helping them to feel seen and heard. Town council members agreed to support handing out the small gifts, and a natural partnership blossomed with the local realtors to connect members with new residents.

The success of the project also motivated the group to develop door hangers for every household in town. The colorful door hangers display a comprehensive list of local supports, volunteer opportunities, and health services. Many people donated their time to distribute the hangers to over 1300 households!

Multiple partnerships and countless volunteer hours made this feel-good project successful. It is heartwarming to see how much love and support can fit in one small box.