Forty off-reserve families from the Tsilhqot’in and Ulkatcho First Nations received gift cards to help make their lives a little easier during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The visa cards valued at $100 were distributed Wednesday morning, April 29, by the Yeqox Nilin Justice Society (formerly Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society) in Williams Lake.
Demand for the cards was met within approximately 20 minutes after registration had opened at 9:30 a.m.
Recipients were greeted at the door by elder’s coordinator, Faith Myers, who handed out the cards with finance coordinator, Ann Guichon who was joined with her young daughter, Kyra, who checked off the list.
“When they come they’re so happy,” Guichon said of the recipients.
Guichon said she had put in a funding proposal to provide the gift cards which was approved last Friday.
“We as a team decided this was how were going to distribute it,” she added. “Some of our families live in apartments and you’re not allowed to go to the parks and there’s nothing they can do inside, so hopefully this will make it a little easier on the parents out there.”
All three wore handmade masks and practiced social distancing while in the building distributing the cards.
Guichon said her and her daughter’s mask was made by victim services worker Karen Jim who works out of the Alexis Creek RCMP detachment.
“It is hard and it is sad,” she said of the pandemic. “I’m really close with my family and we miss them so much. I actually had family come in to pick up gift cards and it’s so hard. I cried because I really wanted to hug my aunty and I couldn’t.”
Myers agreed with Guichon and said it is also difficult for her not being able to see family.
“My grandma lives out west and it’s hard because we can’t see her.”
The Yeqox Nilin Justice Society closed its doors to the public mid-March due to the novel coronavirus. Guichon said they hope to be able to distribute sporting equipment and groceries to on-reserve members in the near future.