Volunteers step forward in Yukon's Klondike to help during COVID-19 crisis
Dozens of people in Dawson City offer to help others who need assistance with daily life
From helping those in need, to hosting a parade to raise morale in town, volunteers in Dawson City, Yukon, have been keeping busy.
Elaine Corden, one of the organizers of the Helping Hands program, says dozens came forward when a call went out for people to assist those in a 14-day self-isolation period.
She said at this time of year, Dawson City typically has residents returning from winter trips and miners coming back to work on their gold claims.
Now, they need to be in quarantine for 14 days. Others are self-isolated because they have existing medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of serious harm from COVID-19.
Within 24 hours of putting the word out, Corden said 60 volunteers came forward.
"I mean, I'm sure this is going on in every little community across Canada and North America and all over the world," she said.
"But as always with Dawson, this town never fails to knock my socks off with its generosity and its team spirit."
About 20 people who need assistance have been paired with volunteers, Corden said.
A Helping Hands Facebook post lists a number of potential errands and tasks that volunteers can help with, including picking up groceries and prescriptions, dropping off garbage at the local landfill and helping people fill out forms for government financial assistance.
Corden added, however, that the territorial government has told her they will soon be taking over providing services to people who are officially quarantined. She said people can find out more about that process by emailing the government at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Others in Dawson City stepped forward on Wednesday evening to raise morale and show appreciation to front-line workers by putting on a parade.
The chief of the Klondike Valley fire department, Iain Weatherston, said those who don't have the choice of avoiding close contact with others should be recognized.
"All the first responders, front-line health-care workers — just a little acknowledgement for them, they're kind of doing roles that they're kind of forced to be immersed with people," said Weatherston.
A long line of emergency vehicles passed by the hospital and the extended care lodge as the parade made its way around Dawson City's downtown.
Weatherston said people were encouraged to stand by their windows or come out of their front doors and make some noise.