Adapting our Community Impact with COVID

COVID-19 has affected every family in our community, hear from Community Impact Council Director Catherine Harrington on how this has affected her family, the Junior League of Omaha and how were are continuing our community impact safely during these times.

This time of year is always my favorite. I love the decorations, the cheery music and the overall feeling of warmth and love despite the temperatures plummeting and  the days growing shorter. As we near the end of fall and enter the winter holiday season I like to pause and reflect on the past year. And this year has been quite the doozy.

Gratitude is a daily practice for our family. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. 2020 has taken so much from so many, and sometimes it’s hard to see the glass as half-full. 

For my family and I COVID has been more of an inconvenience. We haven’t seen my family in Chicago since February, and that’s tough. But for some families their lives have been turned upside down by the loss of a job, or worse, a loved one.

While this year has been “different”, I’m also grateful for some of the things to come out of our new covid lifestyle. I’m grateful for a slower pace of life and more time at home with my family. I’m grateful for the opportunity to join meetings virtually, although I do so miss seeing my friends in person. 

But what I’m most thankful for is seeing the way our community has come together. Neighbors checking in on each other. An extra trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies for an older couple. The love and outpouring of support for our medical community who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe is inspiring. Healthcare workers are super heroes.

 

I love to see people working together for the common good. As a public health crisis, we are all responsible for helping to flatten the curve and keep each other safe. Staying at home as much as possible is so important right now. It isn’t always easy, but it’s essential. To those of you who are doing their part to mask up and limit in person interactions, thank you.

Our league recognizes your sacrifice and we appreciate you. We are here to support you in any way we can. Reach out to your fellow league members for a virtual coffee date or happy hour. Attend one of our (amazing) zoom trainings and get in some virtual socialization. Pitch in and lend a hand in one of our virtual community impact shifts. The Done in a Day and Food Access teams have worked hard to offer opportunities to learn and help virtually. 

League Letters is a particular favorite of mine. We meet virtually for conversation and comraderie while writing hand written notes of support and encouragement to nonprofits, healthcare workers, or anyone needing a kind word. 

Virtual Meeting for League Letters

If you feel comfortable leaving home and volunteering in person we have physically distanced impact shifts available. Your safety, our partners safety and those we serve is of the utmost importance to us. We are only partnering with agencies who take their physical distancing and covid protocols seriously. 

Right now the need in our community is higher than ever. The nonprofits and agencies in our community are stretched thin and we want to support them as much as possible. 

But most importantly, we’re continuing to offer safe, physically distanced impact shifts for those we serve. Many members of our community don’t have the luxury of staying at home safely. They might not have enough food at home or diapers for their baby. They might not have a safe, stable home life. They might not have heat.

These are issues that many of our neighbors struggle with. These are the people we are committed to serving. Food insecurity in our community is through the roof. Our partners at Heart Ministry Center are seeing unprecedented numbers of people using their drive up pantry, and don’t expect those numbers to go down any time soon. 11% to 17% of Nebraskans are expected to face food insecurity, while 17% to 23% of the state’s children deal with hunger. 

I can imagine it’s hard to find gratitude if you’re struggling with basic needs. It’s hard to see the glass as half-full when you don’t have a cup. 

If covid has taught us anything, it’s that our community is only healthy and thriving if we all are. Like our city’s public health, the strength, vibrance and health of our community is a cumulative reflection of all of us.

This holiday season please remember that you get more by giving. That warm, cozy feeling we love so much this time of year is from the outpouring of love and generosity this time of year. Join us for a virtual or in person impact shift. Make a donation, however big or small to your favorite nonprofits. Do something kind for someone you love, or a perfect stranger. 

I hope you ladies have a beautiful holiday season with those you love. I’m proud to be part of an organization that was founded to serve others and make a positive impact in our community. I am grateful for all that you do, and I’m grateful for your friendship. Thank you for being here. 

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