Little Things Mean A Lot II

May 7th, 2020

Categories: Benefits, Charity, Food, Hunger

I recently wrote about personal gifts from friends and family that cheered the recipients during the pandemic in the first “Little Things Mean A Lot” post. I’ve also noticed efforts of citizens who take advantage of their contacts and/or talents to create popup fundraising opportunities. Plugging in to such efforts makes it simple for the rest of us to do a little something that collectively can mean a lot in an otherwise helpless period given strictures of social distancing and increasing sparsity of disposable income. A plus: you know that your donation goes directly to those in need.

It’s not surprising that the initiatives I selected involve donations of food.

The manager of my apartment building and his wife make 100 sandwiches a week for “One Sandwich at a Time” and invited tenants to join them. He also launched a food drive. Tenants drop off shopping bags full of groceries in the lobby. [I took the photo above early the morning after his announcement]. I see a hearty number of different bags every time I go downstairs. The drive is scheduled to last until the end of the month.

Every other Saturday night from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Julian Gordon and Tim O’Hara produce streaming fundraising concerts on Facebook–An Evening with Tim and Julian–to benefit The Sharing Place, a food pantry in Jersey City. They have raised some $2,200 in two concerts. Guests joined them on May 2; some performed songs that Julian wrote. The next concert is scheduled for May 16. Link to their Facebook page for updates.

Do you know of grassroots efforts that support food pantries or other ways people are amplifying what they can give to help those adversely impacted by the pandemic?

Julian Gordon, left, and Tim O’Hara, “An Evening with Tim and Julian.”

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19 Responses to “Little Things Mean A Lot II”

  1. Nancy Farrell Said:

    I just bought some handmade masks from a friend of a friend. $3 from every mask sold goes to an animal rescue. The sewist is also donating masks for people who are coming home from having dialysis.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    I see promos for masks on Facebook but fear that they are scams. Might you share the name of your friend, how to contact her and the price of her masks?

  3. Nancy Farrell Said:

    They are $7.95 each and they are pretty, well-made, and machine washable. Orders of 3 masks or more are eligible for free shipping but you have to enter a code at checkout. Details are on the website:
    http://www.ohanacreative.com

  4. BC Said:

    Our gated community of 760 homes collects food regularly for Second Harvest, a local food pantry. We have our own little chapel, which takes care of organizing this effort to get the food to the right places.

    With the pandemic, food collections were stopped, and we were asked to donate money. In the first week, we raised $10,000 and checks were delivered to Second Harvest.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    I ordered some masks.

    FYI: When asked if you have a coupon, if you order more than 3 [as you wrote], type in SHIPSFREE at checkout.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    That’s amazing! I bet the pantry gets even better prices and more for the money than ordinary citizens do.

    In New York State farmers were spilling gallons of milk because the cows were producing far more than they were selling given that their customers were shut down: schools, restaurants, corporate dining facilities etc. The New York Daily News wrote about Governor Cuomo’s plan to divert the milk to food banks. “‘We need to make that marriage between product upstate and need downstate,’ Cuomo said as he announced an initiative he calls ‘Nourish New York.’

    “The state will work with farmers to purchase products and send them to food banks while upstate-based companies such as Chobani and Cabot Cheese have agreed to distribute their excess products to food banks and those in need, the governor said.

    “Cuomo also said the state is going to commit $25 million to help food banks that have been overwhelmed by demand as the pandemic continues.

    The article also reported “Food banks have seen a 40-60% surge in demand upstate including a 40% increase on Long Island, 100% increase in the city and 200% increase in Westchester, according to the governor.”

  7. Nancy Farrell Said:

    Jeanne: I hope you like them. Thanks for the tip on shipping. I didn’t get the code in when I ordered my first batch but I plan on placing another order in a week or so. Also, good to know that something is being done to feed people. I helped assemble to go packages for a soup kitchen in March and people were outside in the cold rain over an hour before it was open. It breaks my heart.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    I wouldn’t have known about the code had you not mentioned it and actually wrote the co. to ask about it or I’d have been out $7.50. I suspect postage and an envelope with 3 masks couldn’t cost that much so thank you.

    As for food, a friend told me I was nuts to participate in food drives as the state takes care of everyone who needs food. I have not done a study but my instinct tells me otherwise as do the stats in the Daily News article I quoted in my response to BC re. food banks.

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    Everyone seems to be jumping on the good deeds bandwagon, which means scammers aren’t far behind. Best to give to known and trustworthy charities. If in doubt, check it out with Charity Navigator — four stars being their highest grade.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Good advice. The endorsements of my friend’s son–Julian Gordon–the manager of my building and Nancy Farrell [above re. masks] are good enough for me. I wish I had enough money to send it helter skelter but even then, I would do as you suggest and confirm validity with Charity Navigator.

  11. Nancy Farrell Said:

    Jeanne: There are absolutely people who are “food insecure” and I happen to know a few myself. I know others who grew up hungry and while they aren’t hungry now they remember the kindness of friends who invited them over when they were young for an after school snack such as grilled cheese. Such a simple thing as a grilled cheese sandwich costs so little to the giver and can mean so much to the recipient. So keep helping, Jeanne.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    I often grumble out loud, or in a text, about procedures I need to revise for a better outcome. When Homer was alive he was the unlucky listener but now my friends are patient with me. When the apartment food drive began I wrote a friend about the onerous 9 block walk back from ***Trader Joe’s in the rain [best days for me to shop without crowds] with heavy bags on each shoulder and in each hand so I could do my 2 week shopping and contribute to the drive. One friend, who doesn’t believe in charities except for St. Jude’s and nixes volunteer work as he maintains all charities are ripoffs, assured me that there are no hungry people in NY as there are plenty of government programs. I know this isn’t true.

    ***Two grocery stores nearer me, owned by the same person, charge ridiculous prices–$5 for 3 lemons for example or $7.49 vs. $5.99 at other stores for 14 oz of Haagen D’azs–so while easier on my shoulders out of the question for me to frequent and buy a significant amount for myself or to give away. They sell standard fare–nothing special. One is a germ pit. And I don’t want a marketing basket–just one more thing to store in limited space and most too small to make a difference.

  13. Nancy Farrell Said:

    You did a great thing, Jeanne. And you’re allowed to do that and to grumble at the same time. Grocery shopping is very stressful under usual circumstances and these are unusual times. One of the things I miss most is helping to serve hot meals in person at the soup kitchen. The guests are inspirations and so appreciative of something as simple as fresh fruit or salad and a hot meal. They lift my spirits. I’m sure that the food that you lugged home and donated meant a lot to the recipients. I wish you could have seen their faces light up when they saw a favorite soup or some other familiar item that you chose for them.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    I was looking for lightweight things natch. Trader Joe’s has wonderful chocolate so I bought a bunch of bars along with the usual. I like to smile thinking of someone choosing the sweets in addition to the rice, pasta, tuna and canned food.

  15. Nancy Farrell Said:

    Your story reminds me of one I read a few years ago. Some children (they might have been scouts) were making “birthday bags” for their local food pantry. The bags contained fixings for a birthday celebration–frosting, cake mix that only required adding water, themed decorations such as dinos on a tablecloth, hats, etc. The idea is that even the youngest child can understand the importance of a birthday and will want to help make them. The birthday bags were very popular at the food pantry. Speaking of scouts, I ordered cookies and they arrived in late March. The scout’s mom asked if I wanted to pick them up or donate them to workers at a hospital so we donated them all. I thought that was such a nice idea.

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancy,

    Even the chocolate mints? What a WONDERFUL thing to do with the cookies and I so loved the idea of the birthday bags.

    At Christmas a church I attend, along with thousands of organizations, has a giving tree. Boy did I learn my lesson to be more careful in choosing wishes. Mine were for infant’s clothing and one asked for a warm coat for a newborn. I went all over the place and the smallest size I could find was at Uniqlo and it was for a toddler. I love TJ Maxx but didn’t care for what they had at the one I visited so again Uniqlo came to the rescue.

  17. Nancy Farrell Said:

    hahaha. I donated all of the boxes I ordered. There were about 7 boxes and most were peanut butter sandwich cookies but I would have loved them. I love the giving tree but agree the shopping can be challenging. Oh I just thought of a regular thing my daughter’s school does. On Mondays we are asked to send in an extra sandwich. One of the teachers delivers the sandwiches to a shelter. Each week we try to top the last as far as number of sandwiches. It’s a little thing but it’s a nice way to start the week–by helping others.

  18. Martha Takayama Said:

    I am not sure if the following is an appropriate example of what you’d describe. The daughter of a very dear friend was diagnosed with covids19 about 5 days after returning from Manhattan to her familiy’s home in Worcester, MA. Her condition rapidly and radically deteriorated . I asked numerous friends in many different countries and of different faiths , to please pray for her because I felt this would be meaningful to her family and her. Another friend did the same and even put a tweet with #Prayers for Laura. It trended on Twitter. To date Laura has been airlifted by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital where she spent 7 weeks on an ECMI machine, in medically induced comas with myriad complications, interventions and amazingly devoted medical and nursing care. She is continuing to make progress towards recuperation and the prayers continue. They have a been a source of great comfort for her family, those who love her, and for those who have been praying.

    On a much more concrete scale, a man in his thirties in my large residential building has had a sign up since early March offering to shop next door for those afraid or unable to do so. Lastly a bevy of friends have been sharing medical advice and wonderful humorous texts and videos as well as recipes to lift one’s spirits. My conclusion is that any and all positive acts are cherished in these overwhelmingly difficult times

  19. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I think prayers from around the world to support healing is a grand example. May this young woman continue to heal and suffer no consequences.

    Kudos to the neighbor offering to pick up food for others and to those keeping up friends’ spirits.

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