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Kendall Worth: This year Easter is lonely for all, not just for the people on income assistance

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As you readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate know, my journalism includes writing about the connection between holidays and social isolation and mental health for single people living in poverty. 

I have talked about how on holidays people living in poverty do not have family or friends who will invite them over to their home, or even check in on them.

For instance, in 2018 I wrote Kendall Worth on poverty and the challenges of the Easter weekend. Some people in my community told me that this story speaks for any holiday and its connection to poverty, not just Easter, they say.

But this year, the feeling in the air is that financially better off people who usually have company over at the Easter weekend, to them this isolation is going to be a big deal. 

So what I decided to do about this year’s Easter story is to write a story about this year how no one is alone in these feelings of loneliness. In previous years society did not have those COVID-19 public health warnings to deal with. In 2020 we do.

This year people are not going to worship or celebrate Easter by planning gatherings at their homes. Church services are canceled because of COVID-19.  

For people who live alone, regardless of whether you are rich or poor, spending the long weekend alone by yourself is going to be your only option. 

Of course, when you are a financially better off single person who lives alone you often have a wider range of caring friends and family who will call and check in to see how you are doing through times like COVID-19. This weekend it’s safe to say that 80% to 90% of welfare recipients will not be having family and friends calling to check on them.

Take William, who I wrote about recently here: Being poor and stressed during the coronavirus.  His sister cannot drive in from Truro to pick William up this year at Easter because she is following the public health warnings. William is not the only one as far as welfare recipients are concerned.

So I would like to end with a suggestion. During this Easter let’s think about ways we can move forward after these public health restrictions can be lifted. Let’s bring the community together to include both those who are financially better off and the poor, and let’s get rid of stigma.

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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