Members of St. Matthew’s Anglican Cathedral are asking local bakers to donate their homemade cookies, and other tasty treats, in the hopes of lifting people’s spirits during the pandemic.
According to Dean Don Bernhardt, this initiative is the brainchild of parishioner Allison Done, who approached him earlier this week with the idea of collecting baked goods at the church and distributing them to anyone who is experiencing bouts of COVID-19 isolation.
"We have a group of people in our community who need a reminder that they have not been forgotten and nothing says ‘we’re thinking of you’ like a homemade cookie!" Bernhard wrote on the church’s Facebook page.
Bernhardt and Done received their latest batch of chocolate chip, raisin and pumpkin spice cookies on Friday, telling the Sun that they’ve acquired three or four such shipments since announcing this new baked goods drive on Wednesday.
While this represents a modest start to the campaign, Bernhardt is confident that the community’s charitable nature will shine through, judging by how many donations the church received in the wake of the 2018 Massey Manor fire that left residents without any extra clothing.
"The response that we got from that event was absolutely astounding," he said on Friday. "My thought was, why don’t we see if we could tap into that same spirit again, because there’s lots of folks out there who, if they knew of a need like this, would be thrilled to respond to it."
The Brandon Bear Clan also decided to hop on board this initiative and use it as an opportunity to collect and distribute items that could compliment a nice plate of cookies.
According to member Kim Longstreet, this means accumulating enough comfy clothes (sweat pants, pyjama bottoms, t-shirts, hoodies) and hygiene products (shampoos, body wash, deodorant) to make a comprehensive winter care package.
"When people have those basic essentials, something to feel good about, that’s our lane," she said. "So this seems like a good fit to be able to hand out the cookies at the same time."
Overall, Bernhardt is just happy that he and his parishioners can undertake some kind of community outreach right now, since St. Matthew’s hasn’t been able to hold in-person services since the province slipped into code red on Nov. 12, 2020.
Even though the dean is still conducting morning prayers through the church’s YouTube page, he admits that these homemade baked goods can provide a kind of personal touch that some people are desperately missing in the age of COVID.
"It’s all about hope," Bernhardt said. "It’s all about letting people know that there are others who care and that they are not alone."
Anyone who would like to pick up or drop off a care package of baked goods for St. Matthew’s new initiative can do so by calling Done at 204-727-2955.
Brandon Bear Clan donations can be dropped off at the Little Teaching Lodge, located at 205 College Avenue.
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