The courtyard at Heart Haven Lodge. Heart Haven will be hosting a community barbecue on Sept. 22. (File photo)

The courtyard at Heart Haven Lodge. Heart Haven will be hosting a community barbecue on Sept. 22. (File photo)

“Community give back” barbecue coming to Stettler’s Heart Haven Lodge

Things are finally getting back to some semblance of normal at the Stettler seniors lodges

After two-and-a-half-plus years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, things are finally getting back to some semblance of normal at the seniors residences operated by County of Stettler Housing Authority.

According to Kris Coolen, Dale Bauman, and Nora Charles, the activity coordinators at Willow Creek Lodge, Paragon Place Lodge, and Heart Haven Lodge, the residents of the facilities wouldn’t have been able to make it through without the ongoing support of the community.

Through COVID-19, the lodges were more locked down than most places, with residents allowed to have one or two designated people to come visit them. Friends, neighbours, and other visitors were not allowed.

To help keep the residents feel supported, many people called asking what was needed at the facilities, and where possible it was provided from the local businesses.

According to Charles, the kids from the Heartland Youth Centre came over to the lodges on multiple occasions, taping signed cards to the outside of the windows, waved and sung for the residents. Other groups sang outside as well.

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and the Stettler Public Library partnered and supplied take home craft kits for lodge residents. Even the local A & W and the theatre got involved, the restaurant making regular root beer runs and the theatre dropping off popcorn.

This giving, according to Coolen, is nothing new.

“It’s been like that right from the get-go,” said Coolen.

“We’re very grateful for how much we do get.”

Some of the non-profits which have supported the seniors lodges include Superfluity, IODE, and the Kinettes of Stettler.

As a way to thank the community for all the support before, and during, the pandemic, and to celebrate some significant milestones for the three lodges in town, the County of Stettler Housing Authority is hosting a “Community Give Back” barbecue on Thu, Sept. 22, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The barbecue will be held on the west grounds of Heart Haven Lodge. Management and board members will be in attendance for community members to ask questions or give feedback and there will be information available for anyone wishing to potentially move into the lodges.

“The lodges are not full,” said Coolen.

“Covid didn’t help. It spooked a lot of people.”

As part of the barbecue, there will be cake to celebrate the anniversaries of the three lodges. In 2022, Heart Haven Lodge celebrates 62 years, Willow Creek Lodge 30 years and Paragon Place 20 years.

Due to the onset of flu season and COVID-19 still making its rounds, the lodge will not be open to the public as a precaution.

“We want to play it safe,” said Coolen.

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