Members of a Penticton family who have dedicated their lives to helping others weren’t about to let the pandemic slow them down.
Joan Mason, her husband, Ron, and their daughter, Diane, have spent each Friday over the past three months baking cookies and muffins and delivering them to people who are struggling.
“We came into contact with quite a few people who have been very shut in since the COVID lockdown started in March,” explained Joan, 81.
“We asked if there was anything we could do for them and one of the people we asked the question to asked us to bring them some potato chips and some chocolate chip cookies. A light went off and Diane and I agreed right there that we could make some cookies and give them to people. We found more and more people who were on their own and needed a little cheering.”
Joan and her husband of 61 years have called Penticton home since 1973, and have been volunteering in the community just as long. That spirit of giving rubbed off on Diane, who was recently honoured for her 30 years as a volunteer at Penticton Regional Hospital.
“I grew up in little communities and you depended on your friends and neighbours and they depended on you and it became natural for me to try and help. When I was 12, I helped build a community church in Salmo and was part of the cleanup crew and it was just something you did, but I loved it,” said Joan.
“It became a way of living. It was passed on to me by my mother and grandmother and I passed it on to my girls.”
With many businesses reopened and life slowly returning to normal for the majority of residents, Diane and her mother plan on slowing down on their baking, but won’t stop altogether.
“We may not do as many as we have, but I think we will still watch out for people who are on their own and bring them cookies once in a while,” Diane said.
“In the past, we’ve baked cookies for people who are going through bereavement and recovery and are struggling and we will keep doing that.”