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Kendall Worth: Check-up time

Kendall Worth, Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Halifax is in a second lockdown, this time around with fewer restrictions.

See also: How the second lockdown affects people on income assistance.

As my readers know, I have been checking up with people in my community to see how they are surviving this second lockdown. You can read some of these stories here and here.

As I have often explained before, the people I advocate for do not have close family or friends checking in on them during the lockdown. Their family often are believers in the welfare stigma, and 80% of welfare recipients live a lonesome and socially isolated life. Some  do not have any living family, period.   

Maria: A full time job makes all the difference 

Last week I had the pleasure of checking in on Maria, who I talked about in this story here, called Abnormal days.

Maria found that the second lockdown was a lot better for her mental health then the first one. She started a new job shortly after the first lockdown ended. The store she is now working at has decided not to close down during this time. However, the store only allows three customers at a time. 

She loves her new job and is getting full-time hours, which she finds better than sitting at home all day, being bored, like she used to do a lot when she was unemployed. 

She is relieved that on her days off from work she can go for long walks, unlike the last time. Something that is not going to change for her is that she is going to be alone Christmas. However, she is used to it.

Two new friends

I have written several stories about a young woman on income assistance who was able to attend classes at Dalhousie University, most recently in the summer when I wrote Imaginary friend. As I wrote earlier this month I introduced her to two other people I have written about, Daryl and Darlene.

She tells me that throughout this second lockdown she was happy to have two new friends who live within walking distance from her. All her time was spent pretty much close to where she lives. All her other friends live near Dalhousie and she lives in Bedford, just like Daryl and Darlene. All three of them keep one another company and enjoy this friendship during this second lockdown. The three of them have plans to spend Christmas together, to keep themselves out of social isolation during the holidays.

William: doing much better this time around

William, who has a sister who lives in Truro, but other than her he has no family. He does have a few new friends he made through an employment readiness course he attends. However, they were not able to be there for him if he needed anything during lockdown because none of them drive nor live within walking distance from his place. 

Anyway I checked in on William. This time around he is doing much better during lockdown than the last time. What William says is different this time around is that with parks being open and less restrictions overall he has more leeway to go for walks on days the weather is cooperating. 

Also, his sister who lives in Truro was able to drive into the city once a week on her day off work, to make sure that William got his essentials and his medications. 

William tells me that during this current lockdown, it feels good that he is able to go to the drugstore by himself to pick up his meds like in normal days. During the last lockdown his meds were delivered to him via courier. That made him feel less independent.

Dorothy and the unnamed woman

Also within the past few days I once again made contact with the two women I wrote about here: Depressing times! How some people on social assistance are living through COVID-19. The other women, who did not want to be named in that story, still does not want to be named. 

Both agreed that even though they cannot do  volunteer work during this time, what feels good about is that they do not have to depend on others to go pick up their groceries, cleaning supplies, and medications. “With parks and walking trails open this time around we have been getting out for lots of walks and exercise. Not so much during the first lock-down,” they said.

The woman who does not want to be named said, “Kendall, I always spend Christmas by my lonesome anyway. The only thing that will be different this year for me is that the Christmas Eve service at my church is cancelled.” 

Dorothy on the other hand said Christmas is going to be a lot different for her this year. For the first time in five years or so she is not going to be alone this year. 

You readers may remember this story here, Venturing out into the world again. Dorothy remains good friends with her old boyfriend, and his new girlfriend. Dorothy and the new girlfriend have been on hikes together.

Now  all three of them are going to be spending the Christmas holidays together, and Dorothy is looking forward to that. 

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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