How servers at a Winnipeg retirement home are spreading joy with paper bag art

A group of servers at a Winnipeg retirement home are using paper bags to spread joy and cheer among the residents.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of group activities, many of the retirement home residents have been spending much of their time alone in their suites.

This is why the servers at the Boulton River Heights Retirement Community have been giving the residents some joyful drawings by turning the paper bags that the residents’ meals are packaged in into works of art.

“Because of COVID and the whole tough time for the residents not being able to see their families, we wanted to do something special for them,” said Sabrina Antifaiff, a server at the Boulton River Heights Retirement Community.

“It started off with just drawing on a single bag.”

Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News

To create the art, the servers draw and colour uplifting images on the paper bags, and also add in quotes and messages such as ‘Have a wonderful day.”

Luise Sawatzky, executive director at the Boulton River Heights Retirement Community, said the workers started this initiative on their own, because they knew the happiness it would bring.

“Now (the residents) aren’t going out and about so much, so when they see this nice piece of art, it really lifts their spirits. Especially first thing in the morning,” Sawatzky said.

Joan Grenon, a resident at the retirement community, said it was boring to be spend her time stuck in her suite during the second lockdown.

“We weren’t ill, but we weren’t doing anything to relieve the monotony,” she said.

Grenon said she enjoys looking at the paper bags and has kept all of the ones she’s received.

Resident Gail Burns has hung up all her paper bag drawings, saying she couldn’t throw them out “because they were much too pretty.”

Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News

“We enjoy them, they lighten our day,” Grenon said.

“So many of the characters on them are really endearing.”

- With files from CTV’s Scott Andersson.