It would be a gross understatement to say that the last month has been a challenging time in our country and our world. We can be grateful if the only impact the virus has had on us is a disruption to our daily routines. So many people have suffered through illness, job loss, and the loss of loved ones.
And while it can be incredibly difficult to find a silver lining in this tragedy, I suppose it might appear as a renewed recognition of our common humanity. The fact that we are in this predicament together, and our ability to weather the storm may well depend upon our willingness to help others.
Today, I want to tell you a brief story of hope. I work at a Title I school that serves many students who come from poverty. The economic and school shut-down has struck the poor and marginalized in our society with significant ferocity. Families that were barely making it before the crisis have been pushed to the brink — struggling just to address basic needs. When the school closure was announced, plans were immediately put in place to ensure students would continue to receive meals, however, we knew that many of our families would need additional support.
In an effort to close the gap, we made a decision to provide basic food and supply boxes to as many families as possible, for as long as possible. Using our Community Resource Room as a base of operation (and guided by our exceptional parent liaison, Maria Huntington), we reached out to our community for support. Their response has been overwhelming. Our school families, staff members, local churches, restaurants, food banks, friends, and kind-hearted strangers have flooded us with donations and gift cards. We have had a weekly donation drop-off day and I have been absolutely humbled by the response. This week, I watched with gratitude as one of our Willis families rode up to our donation spot on bikes. Each member of the family, dismounted, opened a backpack and unloaded canned goods and supplies. It is generosity like this that has allowed us to provide boxes to about sixty-five families each week since the school closure began. That is hope!
Mother Teresa is credited with saying, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Over the coming months, may we all be more patient, more helpful, more encouraging, and more forgiving. May we all seek out ways to help each other with material supports, a kind word, a message of encouragement, or an act of gratitude. May we all remember that we belong to each other.
Thank you to all who have made a difference in the lives of our students and their families. We appreciate you!