'Tis the season, the time of year when kindness, spreading festive cheer and good news all seem to be in abundance.
This is the final edition of The Lake Report for 2021, a year that began in the middle of a pandemic and ends – in the middle of the same pandemic – with a new viral threat thanks to Omicron, but plenty of hope thanks to vaccines, booster shots and the hard work of our front-line health care workers to get those needles into arms.
As our columnist Dr. William Brown warns this week, there is plenty to be worried about regarding Omicron, but we really won’t know how bad it may or may not be … for a few weeks. So, let’s all be careful out there.
And as Niagara-on-the-Lake pharmacist Sean Simpson tells us, do whatever you can to get your COVID booster (or a first or second shot, if you are one of the few who has not). But recognize that our pharmacies are going full tilt trying to accommodate the demand. There just are not enough hours in the day – or enough staff – to meet that demand.
A little understanding and empathy will go a long way on that front.
Two other stories in particular this week drove home for us how kindness and caring can make a difference in the community.
Again this year, via NOTL Gives Back, the staff of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake have opted to think of others instead of themselves at Christmastime.
The success of the NOTL Gives Back project, inspiring town workers and many others in the community to donate goods, clothing, cash and more to help those in need, is remarkable. Kudos to our town staff and everyone else across the community who helped gather items to donate to Newark Neighbours.
By far the most heart-warming story is the tale of the inclusive playground at Crossroads Public School.
It was completed nearly two years ago, but its use was restricted by COVID protocols. It is wonderful to read the comments of kids and parents about how important something as simple as a playground can be.
How everyone came together to fundraise for the project. How the Virgil Business Association encouraged them all to aim high and think big. And, lastly, how private donors made sure the project met its goal.
That sort of pulling together is a common theme for this community.
But the outcome – a play area in which children can enjoy themselves regardless of their abilities – means that a generation of children growing up here will know and recognize that inclusion is far more than a modern buzz word.
This is the sort of investment and action that will pay dividends in the lives of our children – and their children – for many years to come.
What a Christmas gift it is.