Cheer Crates support Saskatoon families during pandemic
- Andrea Ledding | June 25, 2020
Tracie Snakeskin’s family is one of more than 500 that received a Cheer Crate from the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation and the Food Bank and Learning Centre, a partnership to help address challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 16th, volunteers and staff were at Westmount Community School, packing up boxes and bags of learning materials, crafts, toys, books, hygiene items and perishable and non-perishable pantry staples.
“Our community school coordinators and staff helped identify families who could benefit from this,” explained Zeba Ahmad, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Recipients aren’t just in the core communities, but across the city. Over 30 schools are doing deliveries across Saskatoon in virtually every neighbourhood.”
Coordinators from each school picked up delivery orders at set times and distributed them.
Snakeskin said COVID-19 hasn’t changed things very much for her. “I’m used to it, I’m always home anyway, especially with this little one around.”
The little one is her granddaughter Angela, a few months old. But Snakeskin admits that her five children, aged 10 to 24, as well as the baby and the another one on the way, are all living with her due to COVID. She says it’s been important to have all her kids with her and the Cheer Crate is a welcome help.
“I just found out last week, then they called yesterday and told me they were going to drop it off,” Snakeskin said as her kids went through the boxes, sorting groceries, books, games, and art supplies. “My baby’s been wanting markers and that, it’s going to be stuff she plays with, that’s awesome.”
Anne MacLellan, Community School Coordinator for Westmount, was all smiles as she delivered the contents to the family, and they joked they went “way back” as they gave out hugs and fussed over the baby. MacLellan ensures that the families at Westmount are supported and needs are identified accordingly. As the family went through the boxes and bags on the kitchen table, MacLellan drew attention to a scavenger hunt in Michif, provided by Gabriel Dumont Local to help the children build and retain Michif vocabulary.
This is the second round of the Cheer Crates to help brighten up the long days spent in family self-isolation: a connection back to the schools which are usually the hub of their daily activities and extended community.
After everything had been sorted and put away, MacLellan headed off to her next delivery and Snakeskin said she enjoyed the whole experience.
“I was happy. Lots of healthy food,” said Snakeskin, as her grand-daughter cuddled in her arms. “I love surprises.”