And an invitation to participate in this personal project.
The elephant in the room that's not actually an elephant. It's been in the forefront of all of our conversations for about 2 weeks now. On the whole, I am incredibly proud of my fellow Manitobans with how we have (for the most part) risen to the challenge presented to the world at large. Working from home. Cancelling large social gatherings. Pulling kids out of school early if we had the means to. Practicing social distancing.
However, the reality of all these measures is rather terrifying.
I recently lost my newly acquired day job as a result of these crazy times. I hadn't been there long enough to qualify for EI.
My husband, part owner/operator of NeverGreen Pool Care, is wondering what the future will hold for his small business with the current economic climate.
He also doesn't qualify for EI.
And we are not alone. Not by a long shot. There are many many small businesses who are in similar or even more dire situations than us. There are single parents out there who are wondering how they will keep their jobs if school is cancelled for the rest of the year and they have no childcare. There are farmers who might not have access to their seasonal workers, which could jepordize our access to locally grown fresh produce. Small restaurants and shops are having to close their doors, unsure if they will have the means to open them again. The sad reality is that half a million people had applied for EI 2 days ago... I don't know where that number currently stands, but you can bet it's not lower. unemployment rates are through the roof and we don't know when things will settle down. I'm hopeful that I will have a job to go back to, but like so many of us, I honestly have no idea.
These times are scary.
It's been starting to weigh heavily on me.
So during these surreal times, I decided to channel my inner worry and frustration into a personal project that I've dubbed "through the window". I've been reaching out to family, neighbours and friends asking if they would allow me to take a portrait of them through their window to convey a feeling, not necessarily creating a proper "portrait", of the current mood I feel like so many of us are experiencing. Social distancing hurts my soul. I'm a hugger by nature and being asked to keep 2 meters between me and my friends and family is really hard. But it is necessary. The sooner we band together, realize this and stay home, the sooner we will come out on the other side of this madness.
We are in this together.
If you want to be a part of this project, please reach out to me on Facebook or via email. While my family is struggling with uncertainty right now, I am not asking for payment for these portraits. I am however asking that if you have the means, you make a monetary donation to one of the charities that I work closely with as they are facing hard times right now too. I will also point out that I fully understand and appreciate that many of us don't have the means to donate right now though, speaking as someone who just lost her job. If you do however have the means to make a donation of any size, you can donate to You Can't Spoil a Baby HERE or to K9 Advocates Manitoba HERE.
**EDIT** Pamela, the beautiful soul behind You Can't Spoil a Baby, has requested that any potential monetary donations be paid forward to Winnipeg Harvest. Due to the current outbreak, YCSAB has temporarily paused all operations in the interest of keeping everyone safe and healthy. You can donate to Winnipeg Harvest HERE!
And please, for the love of everything, LAY OFF THE TOILET PAPER. There are some of us who are legit going to run out soon...
Stay well my friends. Cheers.