Chicago Couple Cancelled Their Wedding But Used $5,000 Catering Deposit To Feed People in need

Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago had to cancel their big wedding because of COVID-19, but their cancellation uplifted the needy. This happened after the couple asked if the caterer could convert their wedding food into donated thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Consequently, 200 thanksgiving meals were served to Threshold clients, who are individuals with mental health and substance use challenges.

Thresholds’ clients had a thanksgiving meal. The CEO of Threshold said the donation was truly needed because their clients were not likely to have a thanksgiving meal in 2020 due to financial constraints brought upon by the pandemic. The donated food uplifted the clients’ spirits, warmed the givers’ hearts and enhanced the community spirit.

There are creative ways of giving, even and especially during challenging times.

Illustration: Elena Scotti/The Guardian

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here

Captain Tom’, 99, raises more than $31 million for UK carers

Captain Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British war veteran did what he could do to raise money for health care service. Using a walking frame, the world war two veteran walked 100 laps of his garden. His goal was to complete the laps before his 100th birthday.

He raised $31.3 million for the healthcare service. Old age is no barrier to responding to the needs of the community.

Picture retrieved from RFEA

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu

Protest Sign Made by Third Grader Inspires the Nation When it Mysteriously Travels to Protests

In response to the death of George Floyd, the principal of Lake Country, Minneapolis, asked the students to join their feelings with those in the streets by making signs and sharing them with the school community. Mathias Brinda, a third-grader made a huge sign that said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This sign was hunged on the school fence, but it went missing. It later showed up at two different sites- in front of a spray-painted image of Floyd and in the possession of three children.

Picture retrieved from Good News Network

The sign inspired the nation- at least the one who took the sign from the fence, the Black man who kneeled by it in front of Floyd’s image and the three children who held it up while raising their fists- and everyone else who read the story of the sign.

Wisdom and inspiration from the lips of children.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu

Staying Sober in Quarantine

The Phoenix uses health and fitness to help individuals overcome addiction. Using quarantine, in-person sessions were not possible because of social distancing guidelines. Mindful of the isolation that those recovering from addiction experience even without the quarantine, the Phonex creatively switched to online classes and virtual group meetings.

Those working on their recovery continued to receive classes and attend group meetings online.

Challenges are catalysts for innovation.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or contact at msergon@my.nl.edu

Cooperation and Chocolate: The Story of One Colombian Community’s Quest for Peace

A community in Columbia builds a community-based economy in their quest for peace. After many years of war, a group disengages from the war, and decide to create a community of peace. The community promises to disengage completely from any aspects of the war, and in return, they asked to be left alone. It focuses on planting plants and selling its products. Interestingly, the community used a community-based economic model whereby each member took part in the planting, harvesting, selling, and budgeting for the funds from sales. In their quest for peace, the community created an egalitarian economic model.

Image by Yes! Magazine

The main outcomes were peace, prevention of life lost through war, and economic growth. The economic model was participatory in which the community was engaged in all the processes and the benefits. There were also unintended consequences such as the greening of the environment through the planting of more cocoa trees, and the learning of the skills of the economic project by new/younger members as they became engaged in the process.

It is possible the community learned the power of cooperation, as evidenced by the success of their cocoa business. it is possible there was a reduction in inequality due to using a community-based economic model as opposed to the capitalistic one. In this model, every member of the community is involved in the decision making. Also, the funds were used as the community saw fit, suggesting that the needs of all were considered. There is also the lesson of using the community resources-skills, expertise, and wisdom in problem-solving. Lastly, the project was inexpensive because the community was the key resource.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu

Interviewing Neighbors During COVID Brought Her Light “When Things Seemed So Dark.”

Just like everywhere else, COVID-19 came to the small town of Leverett, Massachusetts. And when the town went into lockdown, Jinny Savolainen wanted to do something meaningful. Quarantine was especially isolating for her. In 2019, Jinny lost her daughter. And when the pandemic hit, she lost her job. So, she sent an email to the town listserv asking if anyone wanted to record remote StoryCorps interviews about their life during COVID. StoryCorps is an organization whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs. These Leverett stories were then broadcast on NationalPubicRadio.

Portia Weiskel, a beloved town fixture for more than 50 years spoke with Jinny about a quirky quarantine tradition of a weekly howl at the Leverett Pond that started in lockdown and can be heard throughout the town. Mary Hankinson, a nurse at a long-term care facility, realized when the pandemic first hit how hard it was to access personal protective equipment. She coordinated a group of almost a dozen women who volunteered to make masks. They were hung on a rack outside the post office, where anyone could pick one up for free. Hundreds of these masks were made.

Image from Storycorps

Jinny states “I believe our grandchildren [and] great-grandchildren will want to know how we fared during this pandemic,” “I think they will be in awe of the way Leverett has come together, in the kindest, most humble of ways.” What started with one email ended in a collection of over a dozen interviews.Taken together, these conversations paint a picture of small town life and community during an unprecedented time. As Jinny put it, “Just when things seemed so dark, I found some light in the words of the people all around me.”

Story shared by Tom Wolff, from Massachusetts, USA.

More info here or at tom@tomwolff.com

Village response to supporting elderly or vulnerable people

Our village’s ladies social group (on Whats app) discussed soon after lockdown, what could we do for local residents. It was agreed that we could together, do some practical tasks such as shopping, dog walking or phone calls to help combat isolation. One person volunteered to advertise their home phone number, a “flyer” was produced that offered all kinds of practical and emotional help to residents and to ring the main volunteer’s number, who would then arrange others to undertake support tasks. The leaflet was distributed to every household in the village by a number of volunteers.

Illustration by Nextdoor

Leaflet given out to every household. A number of people requested help with shopping for essential items and were allocated a volunteer.

It was quick and easy to do. Sharing tasks meant no one person was trying to do everything. People felt support was there (even if they didn’t need it).
It linked to Nextdoor ap which was used throughout UK.

Story shared by Cath Howard, United Kingdom.

For more info please contact at cath.papcastle@gmail.com

Young boy’s 6th birthday

It was a 6 year old boy’s birthday and he could obviously not invite his friends to a birthday party. They stay in a suburb where people stay behind high walls to protect them against crime and people do not really socialise. In an effort to make something of the birthday his mother phoned the people in her street to ask if they would participate in making his birthday special by putting a little present for his birthday at their gate the next morning. Everyone was lockdown so they could not buy special presents.

Picture from Harrogate Mumbler

On his birthday the mother took the boy for a drive in the street and stopped at each gate where a little present was placed. Much to their surprise almost everyone in the street participated and the boy was delighted by all the surprise presents. The little boy was very happy with his surprise birthday and that was the beginning of people in the street talking to each other.

People need a little stimulation to reach out to others. The difficult situation lead the mother to reach out to neighbours and the neighbours were keen and willing to participate. Most people are keen to experience a sense of community.

Story shared by Maretha Visser, South Africa

More info please contact: maretha.visser@up.ac.za

Covid nurses wear lapel pins with cartoon avatar

Patients were not able to recognize health professional wearing mask, and this had implications on caring, empathy, reducing the caring (not the curing) capacity of the health professionals. The provincial president of nurses report the problem during a newspaper interview, and an illustrator offered her ideas to solve the issue.

Now most nurses in different wards of the most important hospitals in Bologna wear the lapel pins and this help nurses doing their job.

Picture retrieved from La Repubblica

This was recognized as a good initiative by the ministry of health, nurses would like to formalize it as a good practice, providing a simple, funny way to handle a problem that may apply also in other contexts (i.e, schools, kindergartens etc.).

Story shared by Cinzia Albanesi, Italy.

More info here or contact cinzia.albanesi@gmail.com

COVID-19 Lockdown relief efforts in Makhanda/Grahamstown, South Africa (by LIV Lukhanyiso) – Food Parcels

LIV Lukhanyiso exists to provide a sustainable solution to South Africa’s growing number of orphan and vulnerable children, and building community is vital to our work. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of vulnerable families and children has grown significantly. In partnership with two local schools, LIV Lukhanyiso has run a successful project to provide food parcels weekly to 110 families in our city during lockdown. These are families with preschool children and most of these children would usually receive their main meal at school. Our aim is to continue to support these children until they can return to school.

Photo by Lara Kruiskamp, founder of LIV Lukhanyiso

Our motto is Together We Can – and it is in times like these that we can clearly see that we can do far greater things when we work together for a common purpose. We are seeing relationships being built and strengthened as sponsors, local businesses, schools and volunteers all work together and come alongside those in need. The project has also created wider exposure for our organisation’s work with vulnerable children. The food parcels provided will keep the children fed and nourished to avoid the child development challenges hunger and malnutrition cause.

We have been running fundraising initiatives for our organisation for a number of years, although successful, the response we have seen for this project has been unprecedented. We have learned that particularly individual donors prefer to give towards a cause that has immediate returns. We have also learned that beneficiaries are far more grateful than what is normally articulated. With more beneficiaries now with cell phones, this gratitude is easier to get across and it serves as a great connector between our beneficiaries and our donors.

Story shared by Nomonde Ndlangisa, South Africa

More info here or contact nomonde@liv-lukhanyiso.com