Saskatchewan

Home is where the hearts are: Community movements in Sask. share love from a distance

People have started putting up hearts, holding up signs and capturing family photos from a distance to remind people they are not alone amid COVID-19.

Plastering homes with hearts, capturing family photos among the ways people are reaching out

Becki Simpson-Krahn and her daughter took part in the social movement of putting up hearts for people to see when they go for a walk. (Submitted by Becki Simpson-Krahn)

In a time of uncertainty, as cases of coronavirus continue to rise in Saskatchewan, residents are finding ways to connect with one another from afar. 

Whether through paper hearts or photographs, people are trying to reach out to each other. 

Hearts YQR 

Heather Getz is the woman behind a Facebook page started to share images of hearts around Regina. Getz said she was inspired by a woman in B.C. with a similar page, but Getz couldn't find one locally. So she made her own. 

"Watching for hearts on people's houses makes you feel connected and it gives the kids something to watch for, too," Getz said. "I hope it helps them to feel connected and then they're not all alone right now. Social isolation can be a tough thing for people."

Danica Liske hung up four hearts in her window with her daughter. (Submitted by Danica Liske)
Some of the hearts in windows have messages of love and support. (Submitted by Jaimie Bashutski)
Jennifer Armstrong and her daughter Isabelle posted a number of hearts in their window. (Submitted by Jennifer Armstrong)

Getz said there are hearts of every size and colour and some made to look like stained glass. 

Getz said the social movement is happening across Canada. 

"There's still joy and there's still hope," Getz said. "I want people to remember to stay strong and to stay healthy and that even though we're physically apart that we are all together."

Kimberley Ericson's children went out to tape up paper hearts around their street so people had something to find when walking around. (Submitted by Kimberley Ericson)

#TheFrontStepsProject 

Meanwhile, photographers are visiting people's homes, from a distance, and capturing happy moments of families and individuals on their doorsteps. 

"I won't be intruding on anybody's space, but it also is meant to spread some cheer and pretty much just make a memory of what's happening in the world right now," Lexi Larson of North Battleford said.

Lexie Larson of Blinc Photo & Film in North Battleford took this photo of Ashley and Kris Dushire. Larson is offering photographs of people on their front steps in exchange for charitable donations. (Submitted by Lexie Larson )

Larson said people sign up on her Facebook page, then she texts them when she arrives. The families or individuals come out onto their front steps and have some images taken. Instead of payment, Larson is asking people to spread kindness either through donating to a charity or being kind to their neighbours. 

Nicole Ehman of Focus 22 Photography — in the Craik and Davidson, Sask. area — started up the same project locally. She first heard about it from an article by NBC Boston. 

"I am also a huge history buff and think it would be extremely cool to have photos that document these days, for not only us to look back on, but those in the future as well," Ehman said. 

Nicole Ehman took this photograph in Regina. (Submitted by Nicole Ehman)

For other photographers looking to participate, Ehman suggests asking people to make donations to charity and keeping a safe social distance. 

"There will always be people who might try to push that envelope on physical distancing," she said. "It is paramount to maintain distance in order for us all to do our part in flattening the curve."

Messages of Hope 

In Saskatoon, some friends of patients have taken to holding up signs to share messages at the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital. 

Birkley, Harper and Lennon Bothorel hold up signs for their friend who is at the Jim Patterson Children's Hospital in Saskatoon. (Submitted by Tyler Bothorel)
Birkley, Harper and Lennon Bothorel hold up homemade signs for their friend who is in the Jim Patterson Children's Hospital in Saskatoon. (Submitted by Tyler Bothorel)

Others are writing messages of hope or positivity on sidewalks in different cities. 

People have been writing messages of hope and advice on sidewalks in Saskatchewan. (Hearts YQR/Facebook)
People have been writing and drawing on sidewalks for others who are going on walks while in social isolation. (Hearts YQR/Facebook)

About the Author

Heidi Atter

AP/Journalist

Heidi Atter is a journalist working in Regina. She started with CBC Saskatchewan after a successful internship and has a passion for character-driven stories. Heidi has worked as a reporter, web writer, associate producer and show director so far, and has worked in Edmonton, at the Wainwright military base, and in Adazi, Latvia. Story ideas? Email heidi.atter@cbc.ca.

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