High school graduation celebrations are a big deal, so it’s little wonder that some Grade 12 students are mourning the way COVID-19 and a host of pandemic protocols dramatically pre-empted carefully-made plans to celebrate this rite of passage. Adrianna Domingo, a 2020 graduate-in-waiting of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy in Canmore, admits to grieving the loss of her own celebration. Then she sat down to a family dinner that ended with her family launching a community support program to help some of Canmore’s worst-hit residents, employees of the town’s tourism and hospitality trade.
Hope for Hospitality is a grocery card initiative that’s collecting $100 food gift cards for workers in Canmore’s tourism industry. The program connects Our Lady of the Snows school students, Our Lady of the Rockies parish, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, and everyone else who wants to get on board, with a plan to make sure tourism employees aren’t going hungry after a sudden job loss.
The idea came from Adrianna’s parents, Vijay and Suzanne Domingo. Vijay shared with his family that Canmore’s tourism and hospitality businesses expect to lay off 80 percent of their staff. With some individuals likely to wait weeks before government assistance programs kicked in, the family realized some workers would not be able to stay in Canmore until the town opens for business. Others would stay, but not have income.
Hope for Hospitality allows businesses and individuals to donate money through Our Lady of the Rockies parish. Every dollar collected is put towards buying $100 food gift cards to be used at local grocery stores. Local businesses can apply for the cards on behalf of their out-of-work employees and Tourism Canmore Kananaskis is managing the requests.
With Adrianna’s help, personal messages of hope are being added by school students. Adrianna, president of her school council, asked her Grade 12 peers and other students to design cards to accompany each of the gift cards.
With graduation celebrations now temporarily on the back burner, Adrianna is attending to school work, then assisting her brother and parents with packaging the cards for distribution. While no one anticipated this would be part of their daily family routine, with the pandemic ever evolving, it is the one thing that feels right. Confident that God will see them through, Adrianna admits that helping others lightens her own load in these difficult times.
To support Hope for Hospitality, visit: http://www.rockiesparish.com/donate.html
Submitted by Lindsay Fagan, Director of Catholic Education, Christ of the Redeemer Catholic Schools
Photos submitted by Christ of the Redeemer Catholic Schools.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers