Look For Bright Spots, Choose Kindness

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These days it’s easy to get anxious, scared, lonely and generally overwhelmed. There exists not only fear of catching the coronavirus, but fear of lost income, fear of becoming homeless, fear of being unable to afford life-saving medicine, and fear of not being able to feed one’s family.

Sometimes it helps to search for the bright spots, and that might just help you get through the day. At SPAN, our bright spots are people. Good people, funny people, generous people. We are made of people, we exist for people and we love people.

SPAN was supposed to hold its 30th anniversary celebration this month. Instead, we are celebrating our ability to simply exist to help those in need, and we are very happy to be able to do this. Helping others can put our own problems into perspective, and kindness is always the right path to take. SPAN has remained open throughout the pandemic. With a one-person-at-a-time policy in the SPAN house, we decided to open an outdoor, free food pantry that is regularly stocked and accessible 24/7 to any hungry folks who need it. One woman using it had recently moved a homeless friend into her house. Then she lost her job. Another woman was gathering food to bring to one of her students who had lost their home. A man who was barely making ends meet picked up food from our outdoor pantry to share with his elderly neighbor.

The generosity of our local donors has touched us beyond comprehension. Emails and messages arrive often, asking what we need. One woman contacted us while undergoing chemotherapy to ask what was on our wish list. HoneyBaked Ham donated 30 giant hams. Students have taken the initiative to conduct food drives in local neighborhoods. One woman made kids’ goody bags to hand out. Another made bag lunches. Trinity Bible Church donated its Backpack Buddies snacks. Woods Church, Severna Park United Methodist Church, Sew Masks Maryland, and Our Shepherd Lutheran Church donated masks and prayer cloths. Leave Dinner to Lettie has prepared homemade meals for a dozen clients three times already. The college-age daughter of one of our volunteers has been helping daily with pantry work. Packages of diapers, boxes of groceries, Amazon deliveries, and even bags of produce appear like treasures at SPAN’s doorstep. The list could go on forever!

Our financial donors have also been generous. As soon as the state of emergency began, we held a fundraiser. Immediately, a generous benefactor offered to match all funds up to $2,500. Checks started coming in. Little Carmine’s N.Y. Pizza Kitchen held a fundraiser for SPAN. The Severna Park Giant sold bags for SPAN during April. Garry’s Grill held a fundraiser for SPAN. More checks came in. Lots of first-time donors gave generously.

Although we received generous financial donations, we anticipate an unprecedented financial need in the upcoming months, when utility bills and rent become due (there was a moratorium on evictions and utility turnoffs during the state of emergency). Please consider making a financial donation to SPAN online at www.spanhelps.org. No amount is too small, and it is tax-deductible.

Somehow, we will all get through this together. We at SPAN are happy to help be the conduits of acts of kindness that will help our planet heal, one family at a time.

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