Haida Gwaii ‘ninjas’ combat COVID-19 blues with care packages

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, Goldie Swanson posted in the Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas Facebook group that she had come home to find a surprise package of dried fish and seaweed. (Goldie Swanson/Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas photo)
On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Fawn Williams posted in the Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas Facebook group that she was happy to have been visited by multiple ninjas. (Fawn Williams/Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas photo)
Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas creator Verica Yovanovitch said she wants the local Facebook group to be inclusive and offer something for everyone, even our feline friends. (Eva Jayde/Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas photo)
Try as they may to stay sneaky, some of the Haida Gwaii care ninjas have been “busted” while dropping off packages since the group started on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Graham Richard/Haida Gwaii - Care Ninjas photo)
This little ninja dressed up in her Mulan costume to stealthily deliver care packages. (Bev Joy/Submitted photo)


Ninjas are historically known for their battle skills and on Haida Gwaii, they’re combating the COVID-19 blues.

Since May 14, more than 700 island residents have joined the “Haida Gwaii – Care Ninjas” Facebook group set up by Verica Yovanovitch in an effort to “see people excited for something again.”

ALSO READ: VIDEO: Queen Charlotte clothier surprises Haida Gwaii families as the Easter Bunny

Residents can either be invited to the group or ask to join, then they comment their address along with something they like — from food and drink to flowers — on the album created for their community.

Other group members scan through the addresses and items, and choose someone to surprise by dropping off a care package “ninja-style.”

“It’s pretty hard here because we kind of know what everyone looks like, what we all drive,” Yovanovitch told the Observer, adding that some care ninjas have worn masks to be more covert.

“I myself kind of parked behind bushes and in my mind I was quite sneaky … it’s a bit of an adrenaline rush.”

ALSO READ: Victoria ‘wine ninjas’ bring joy to doorsteps

Yovanovitch was inspired by larger “ninja” groups that have been created across the country, such as the “Wine Ninjas YYJ” Facebook group of more than 4,000 Victoria women who have been surprising each other with wine and treats since May 7.

“It’s been pretty trying times with isolation and people not working,” she said. “People are excited, out shopping for little gadgets and knick knacks.”

She added that care ninjas are asked to follow measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as washing hands and physical distancing, and people who feel uncomfortable posting their address in the group do not have to do so in order to participate.

“You don’t even need to necessarily put your address because people kind of know where you live,” she said.

ALSO READ: VIDEO: B.C. man builds backyard obstacle course for ‘American Ninja Warrior’-style event

Next month, Yovanovitch said she may limit local care ninjas to items with little to no cost, such as handmade art or letters “where you’re not purchasing anything, but you’re still providing something to somebody.”

“It’s more heartfelt,” she said. “It kind of depends as well how long isolation lasts.”

ALSO READ: Village of Port Clements council meets to discuss local vision of B.C.’s restart plan

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