Trish Schachtel of the South Cariboo E. Fry Society: “We would like to nominate Esther Lang as a Hometown Hero during the COVID-19 pandemic. She shopped and ran errands for vulnerable community members, delivered food hampers for the food bank, and she made lots of calls to check in on people. She is always willing to do whatever she can, whenever she can, to assist. Esther is a gift to this community!”
Many people know of the work that Esther Lang has done for years as coordinator of the Community Resource Society’s (CRS) annual Christmas Hamper campaign. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been working under the auspices of the CRS (but as the sole volunteer) to help people get the food and medicine they need.
“Part of the mandate of the CRS is to find gaps in what the community needs and provide it,” she says. “During COVID-19 we identified a definite need for seniors and the disabled, especially at the beginning, and it has expanded.”
The need was access to groceries and medications, for people who were unable to get to the stores. They phone Lang with a list of what they need, and she picks it up and delivers it.
“I have five or six regulars,” she says, “which is one of the reasons I’ve kept doing it. Once you know people it’s hard to pass them along to someone else.”
While shopping is the main service she provides, Lang notes that other things come up. “I’ve also picked up mail, and informally I do trips to the hospital and to specialists in Kamloops for friends, and I’ve taken someone to the Ashcroft Hospital for lab tests.”
While the service expanded as COVID-19 progressed, Lang says that she’s noticed a lot of others who have stepped up to help their friends and neighbours with their needs. “It means that we haven’t been too busy, and that’s what community is all about.”