Cover photo: Volunteers at Mastering Hope, a nonprofit created to help families in need in the Lynwood area during COVID-19, deliver meals. Photo courtesy of Mastering Hope.
Loving our neighbors today & creating a better tomorrow
Sharing how a few Orange County nonprofits and individuals have been impacting our community, as well as how this time has given us an opportunity to innovate to meet new challenges
Part I: Innovating in Quarantine
“One of the things this moment is teaching us is that truly anything is possible. It will be imagination and innovation that gets us all to the other side. I know this is a time of huge loss, but it’s also a chance to dream big about our futures together, and your generation has something important to say about making that a better future for all of us.”– Stephen Spielberg, speaking to a class of 2020 graduate on Some Good News with John Krazinsky
As a library worker, I often think about how the library can use its unique platform to help my community.
Like many libraries in the U.S., my library has been closed since mid-March. But its mission has stood, responding to COVID-19 by shifting the book budget to purchase more e-books, organizing Facebook Live storytimes, and even allowing staff to sew face masks to mail to city residents for free.
Beyond trying to restore our pre-quarantine services, we are adapting to meet new needs.
In a May 5 editorial “Don’t Settle for Normal,” Library Journal Editor-in-Chief Meredith Schwartz talks about how this shift has presented an opportunity to provide new, improved ways of doing things. She points out: “Comic Hari Kondabolu often tweets about current events, ‘This is not normal. (And normal wasn’t so great either.).’”
On a global scale, individuals, businesses and governments are at a crossroads as we evaluate making changes to how we work, play, eat and engage in each other’s lives. Our actions will not simply respond to this crisis, but may lead us for years to come.
Here are just a few ways people have responded:
Part II: Serving Others in Quarantine
Shortly after the U.S. went into quarantine in March, The Office alum John Krasinsky debuted a made-from-home talk show called Some Good News, where he shared uplifting stories to document the creative way of how people are getting through COVID-19.
Locally, I have been encouraged by seeing stories of resilience by people in my community, including:
- Volunteers made 25,000 face shields for local healthcare workers, organized by OC United and other Orange County nonprofits.
- Fullerton-based comic book shop Comic Hero University, guided by its owner Enrique Munos, has donated more than 2,600 comic books to the Fullerton School District. Munoz has been able to hand out the comics to students who are receiving free meals that the school district is giving out at the school sites.
- Audrey Casas, a Lynwood teacher, established a nonprofit called Mastering Hope and has raised more than $50,000 to help local Lynwood students and families by providing food and meals, and is organizing food distribution for families.
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, in cooperation with other agencies, has been serving about 4,500 meals a week at weekly distribution events at the Honda Center, and fed about 500,000 people in April, according to Voice of OC.
- OC United Way has organized a Pandemic Relief Fund (via GoFundMe) to aid low-income families and those at risk of experiencing homelessness who have been impacted by the pandemic. As of May 26, the nonprofit said it has helped more than 2,000 families.
Part III: Thankfulness in Quarantine
I believe the stories above, plus many more, show we have much to be thankful for, as people have demonstrated their care for others in this time. I have been thankful for a few things that quarantine has given us, including:
- Working from home. This change of working from home has been a blessing for me. COVID-19 has brought about a global rethinking of work, opening the door for talks for more fair wages and work-from-home options that may aide individuals and families.
- Exercise. I have been taking my dog on walks twice a day (while also playing Pokemon Go) and have enjoyed seeing many more people out.
- Rest. The Bible shares how God, and later the Israelites and Christians, view rest (or Sabbath) as an important rhythm in life. Work six days, then rest for the seventh, for example. Quarantine has given us a global time of rest that has helped guide me to focus on a few of the most important things in my life.
- Thankfulness & giving. As the examples above show, people are giving back mightily during the pandemic, from mom-and-pop shops donating food to hospitals, to schools starting drive-thru lunch pickups for students and people in need.
- Creativity and innovation. As it has become harder for us to keep in touch IRL, things like organizing a birthday car drive-by, inviting friends to our Animal Crossing island or having a family FaceTime meeting have illuminated our desire to find new ways of being present with those we care about.
It is worth noting that quarantine has affected each of us differently. Some essential industries are busier than ever while other businesses are struggling to stay afloat, and some individuals may be facing isolation while some families may be pressed to find childcare, for example.
Part IV: Tomorrowland in Quarantine
Walt Disney — like the people showcased in Some Good News or the hundreds and thousands of people who have helped others during this crisis — was a visionary who thought about how we could work together to improve our society.
Dedicating Tomorrowland in 1955, Walt Disney noted that the land represents: “A vista in a world of wondrous ideas…” He went on to say:
“Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals… and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”
Despite their immense obstacles, challenges can present us with an opportunity both to innovate and care more deeply for our neighbors, realizing that we are all in this together.
Demonstrating this, Disney announced shortly after its closure that it would aid our community by donating excess food to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Part V: Conclusion – Loving our Neighbor in Quarantine
For more perspective on caring for our neighbor, the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible recounts a story Jesus told about how three different travelers passed by a man who was beaten on the road. And well, if it’s been a while since you’ve heard this story, it’s worth a read.
Jesus called his disciples to serve others, a message that has remained relevant even today during this crisis, two millennia later. Beyond a mission just for librarians, or teachers, or health care workers, we all have the opportunity to help a neighbor or friend in this time.
As Mister Rogers said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”-Mister Rodgers (Fred Rogers) Source
By Tim Worden. Copyright 2020, all rights reserved. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org