LAKELAND – A local initiative is looking to help residents learn about cultures from around the world - all from the comfort of their living rooms.
The Lakeland Multicultural Association (LMA) has launched its Culture Bags program, and the kits are now available to anyone in the area.
“The culture bags are a celebration of the diversity in the cultures that make up the landscape of the Lakeland and Canada,” explained Kunal Jadav, acting president of the LMA.
February is the program's inaugural month and it will be celebrating the Chinese New Year. It features a recipe for Chinese Pork Dumplings, a paper dragon, drum, and lantern crafts, an activity book, and the history of Chinese New Year.
Cindy Yang, a director on the LMA board, helped put the first bag together. She was excited to be able to share a bit of her own culture and the folklore her parents read to her when she was growing up.
“We’re working really hard to propel the diversity and multiculturalism we have right here in the Lakeland, and we’re hoping that these cultural bags bring a little bit of a sampling to encourage our community members to explore these cultures on their own and to share with others.”
The bags are free, but an online monthly registration is required. One hundred kits are available each month and are open to anyone who might be interested in signing up. The Cold Lake and District FCSS is the current location for curbside pick-up, but the LMA hopes to expand that in the future.
The idea for the culture bags was born when the board was discussing ways of keeping the community engaged and learning about different cultures.
“It provides activities, which is kind of necessary to keep... kids and even seniors occupied in isolation with COVID-19,” Jadav said.
The Culture Bags will focus on a different culture or celebration each month and the LMA is open to collaboration from community members.
“We’re hoping that people are going to want to see this and then share with us their ideas or culture that they would like to talk about and maybe bring their own stories and things like that from their own cultures to share with the community,” Yang said.
Jadav added, “We have contributions from the Cold Lake Learning Centre for the month of February and we’ll reach out to the rest of the community for future celebrations."
According to Kunal, St. Patrick’s Day is another celebration they’re looking to include in an upcoming Culture Box.
“Basically, we’re trying to showcase the different celebrations that happen throughout the year and also try to reflect the local community landscape while showcasing different cultures.”
For those interested in registering to receive a culture bag, message LMA on social media or go to www.coldlake.com under the Cold Lake and District FCSS program registration tab.