CONNECTING IN DISCONNECT: Bear hunts ease isolation anxiety
IT STARTED as a Facebook post, hoping to generate some social-distancing wonder for children during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now thanks to two Allora women, the 'best little town on the downs' has been adorned with stuffed animals waving hello, playing football, driving cars and easing pandemic anxiety.
Lyn Wright and Lynn Close both take joint credit for starting the Allora version of the US scavenger hunt, where households perch teddies in gardens and windows for kids to spy when they can no longer play with friends due to quarantine.
Ms Wright said she posted it as a way to bring positivity in unknown times, and was overjoyed by the other houses who soon followed suite.
"We are a connecting community and we're being disconnected at the moment," she said.
"It's an uncertain time. None of us know what's going to happen, we're just being guided by the government and hoping the virus doesn't enter our community."
Unable to see her own granddaughter, Ms Close hoped the initiative could relieve some of the stress kids were feeling.
"Kids pick up on everybody else's anxiety. They don't know they're anxious but mum and dad are and they're told they can't go see grandma," she said.
According to the pair, the bears were just one way the close-knit community was trying to stay interconnected amid the virus.
"People are just looking for fun things to do to get their mind off the news," Ms Close said.
"They are trying to think of games their kids can play in the backyard when their friends can't come over.
"I have heard of one family who's going to hold a mini Olympics but they're all in their own yards and keeping score."
Ms Wright agreed and said it was only the beginning of people's innovation.
"I think we'll see more of it within the town, people are already doing things," she said.
"We know our Meals on Wheels got taken away from us but already there's talk of someone coming up with an answer for that."