Sweet initiative raises money for COVID-struck musicians, one cookie at a time

·2 min read
Rozalind MacPhail is launching a cookie drive to help musicians and performers impacted by COVID-19 this holiday season. (CBC - image credit)
Rozalind MacPhail is launching a cookie drive to help musicians and performers impacted by COVID-19 this holiday season. (CBC - image credit)

A St. John's performer is baking up a way to support fellow artists whose livelihoods have been derailed by COVID-19 this holiday season.

Rozalind MacPhail, who works with the American Federation of Musicians Local 820, is carrying on a family tradition of sharing cookies to celebrate the Christmas season and to share goodwill.

But with a new spike in COVID-19 cases forcing artists and performers to postpone shows and performances, MacPhail decided to do things a little differently.

"Instead of sending these cookies around the world, [we] decided to actually do something to help our musicians in this community during their times of need," MacPhail said.

Funds raised from cookie sales will go into the N.L. Musicians' Emergency Fund, which MacPhail says will help give musicians a financial safety net heading into the new year.

"I think we all had a lot of hope that things were turning around, and I'll tell you every single one of my friends, including myself, have had shows cancelled, tours cancelled, opportunities to export our music," she said.

"It's just been really, really heartbreaking."

WATCH | Rozalind MacPhail tells Anthony Germain how cookies are helping an emergency fund:

Patrick Foran, who works with St. John's-based theatre company Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, said the support for performers is crucial over the holiday season, and can come in many different forms.

"Whether it's picking up an album, looking for online performances, anything that can help our arts community get through this … Our focus is going to be on helping artists get through this time, and my personal focus will be on enjoying those cookies," he said.

"I think it's important to do whatever we can right now to support our local arts community, and this is a great initiative. It's going to put some resources with [the union] and all the good work they do."

Orders can be arranged by calling 709-722-8005 or emailing cfm820@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, MusicNL announced Thursday it will launch a support fund to help artists who had to cancel holiday events due to COVID-19.

The program, created in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation, will provide a 50 per cent relief subsidy up to a maximum of $500. The program will operate until funds run out.

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