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An RCMP officer stands beside a decorated Christmas tree.

Lytton RCMP spreads holiday spirit with ‘Adopt an Elder’

Cst. Seamus O'Connell organized a holiday initiative with other members of the Lytton RCMP detachment in British Columbia to show appreciation to local Elders and seniors. Credit: RCMP


The Lytton RCMP detachment has organized an adopt-an-Elder initiative to spread cheer this holiday season. The initiative invites the community to give gifts to local Elders and seniors.

Lytton, B.C., which neighbours six Indigenous communities, is normally a hot bed for local events. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic meant many activities couldn't happen.

"I've noticed a lot of seniors and Elders in the community are taking more precautions and not going out to socialize as much as they normally would," says Cst. Seamus O'Connell, an Indigenous Policing Services officer at the detachment, which serves about 2,000 people in Lytton and the surrounding area. "We wanted to share some positivity and happiness with everyone."

Police invited local Elders and seniors to visit the detachment and fill out a wish list. Other community members could visit to see a wish list before purchasing a gift and bringing it to the detachment to be wrapped and delivered.

The initiative is welcomed after the much-anticipated annual holiday celebration hosted by the Lytton First Nation had to be cancelled.

"Knowing that that wasn't happening this year, and a lot of people have been inside and not having a lot of social interactions, I wanted to do something to get the community involved and have them show respect and appreciation to our Elders," says O'Connell.

He also sent forms to each band office allowing Elders to complete a wish list without having to visit the detachment office.

"We can let them know we're still thinking about them even if they're staying home due to the pandemic," says O'Connell.

Adopt an Elder is just one way the RCMP gets involved in Lytton and the neighbouring towns. Officers regularly visit local schools to read with students and give public safety presentations, and participate in a variety of local events.

"This is our community as well," says Sgt. Curtis Davis, who led the detachment until late November. "Officers in the community live here and are involved in everything from sports teams and libraries to the Legion, local dinners and fundraisers."

Building strong relationships with the community helps officers in other aspects of their work as well.

"The Lytton community and the surrounding bands are very supportive of our work," says Davis. "They're very willing to give us a call or approach us in the coffee shop and share information with us."

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