PEI

Crafty kids surprise neighbours in rural P.E.I. during pandemic

Someone started leaving handcrafts, decorations and messages of hope in the community of Bethel when COVID-19 hit. The trail lead straight to the door of this brother-and-sister team.

Their cover blown weeks ago, 13-year old twins continue to spread goodwill

J.J. and Ella Tremblay say they knew the jig was up when people started waving, as the pair went house-to-house, distributing goodies. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A pair of crafty kids continue to spread goodwill in a small P.E.I. community, despite their cover being blown weeks ago in what was supposed to be a secret caper.

Handcrafts, decorations and messages of hope began showing up mysteriously mid-March on front lawns in the community of Bethel, east of Charlottetown.

"We plead guilty," said J.J. Tremblay, 13, when confronted Tuesday outside his house.

His twin sister Ella stood beside him, clutching a handcrafted lawn mushroom — blue with red polka-dots — a birdhouse and other handmade handouts, some dobbed with paint that's still wet.

The twins thought it would be a nice gesture to give surprise gifts to their neighbours — many of them are isolated at home during the pandemic.

Despite the obvious care and planning that went into the crafts, they all hinted at a youthful optimism that was difficult to miss. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The teens' generosity had neighbours mystified, for a while.

"On Mother's Day we were gifted with a piece of carrot cake," said Wayne Bell, who lives about a kilometre down the road, with his wife Terry. "I ran out to see ... all I could catch was their tail lights."

Wayne and Terry Bell spotted a blue SUV leaving the scene after some goods were dropped off. The Bells received a cake on Mother's Day, as did other homes in the area. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

Ella and J.J. figure they got away with it, identities concealed, for about three weeks.

"Until there were people outside on their decks waving at us, so they know who we are now," said Ella.

The artsy pair had been churning out the handcrafts in plain sight, in the front sunroom of the Bethel home they share with their grandparents, Jim and Leslie Jordan.

The pair was operating in plain sight all along with their anonymous gifts, making them in the front sunroom of their home on Bethel Road. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The Jordans admit they were in on the caper. The teens used Jim's power tools in the wood shop behind the house. Leslie supervised painting of the crafts on the kitchen table.

At times, the pair have manufactured upwards of 40 items to be shared.

"Our neighbours are very nice to us and we like to show a bit of niceness to them," said Ella.

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About the Author

Brian Higgins

Videojournalist

Brian Higgins shoots video and reports news on Prince Edward Island.

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