Passion in pandemic

Passion in pandemicSome of the art materials Lucy Chamberlain has to donate to local students. Provided photo.

“Hey Mom!  It’s Glen,” said my answering machine message when I returned from my walk. “I was just calling to check in on you. We are doing okay. You don’t have to worry about us. I just wanted to touch base. See how you guys are doing. And just thinking about you. Love you so much! Bye.”

That message from Pittsburgh, so far away, meant a lot to me. Its message was clear.

Passion in pandemic
Letters and cards Tracey Woodward Froelich will be delivering to county residents who will really appreciate the caring community they live in. Provided photo.

My son had an extra reason for calling to “check” on me. It’s a sign of how things are right now. It’s become extra important to check on friends, family members and neighbors – especially since we have had to keep our distance from each other. It’s even more important now to send that same type of message my son left for me. Call your friends, family and neighbors. Check to make sure they are all right; if they need anything.

Yes, we are in a lock down of sorts – but we are a community coming together. We are coming out, while keeping that “social distance” to lend our helping hands in so many ways.

Passion in pandemic
Daffodils that inspired Lily Mariah Kellogg Hollister. Provided photo.

“In the midst of all this, let’s do something positive and kind,” said Tracey Woodward Froelich, from Western Alliance Emergency Services. “Residents in nursing homes are going to be very lonely without visitors in the coming weeks. My heart is breaking for them. But I know that letters, drawings, and artwork would certainly make their long days a bit less lonely and sad.” 

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to transport residents from nursing homes to appointments, and I’d be happy to deliver your letters and artwork to each facility I go to,” continued Froelich. “If you have something to send, let me know and I’ll make arrangements to get it. Since kids are out of school for a while, this would be a great opportunity for them to express their creativity and make someone smile. Adults, too!”

Others from WAES have been taking all the precautions necessary to provide the best they can offer our community through this difficult time.

Passion in pandemic
Bags of “Grab and Go” lunches distributed by Canton Ministerium and local volunteers. Provided photo.

“Western has been preplanning for this probable event for over two months,” said Jim Cook, supervisor at WAES. “And we have taken steps to assure uninterrupted service for our community and partners.”

“Including necessary training and equipment,” added Rod Decker, WAES CEO.

Libraries are closed, but when I walked up toward the door of the Allen F. Pierce Free Library in Troy to read the sign that was posted, I saw crocuses blooming. A sure sign that spring is right around the corner!  

That made me think of how fortunate we are to live here in Bradford County. It’s beautiful and we have fresh air and room to go outside and walk. The ice has completely melted from Lake Ondawa in Springfield Township and the Mergansers have returned while on their migratory journey. It’s beautiful! I even witnessed someone jump in the lake to make an early plunge into the 35 degree water! 

Passion in pandemic
The libraries may be closed for the safety of all, but the daffodils are open and welcoming spring and future good days to come. (Photo by C. R. Wagner)

Some residents are trying to be as positive as possible through the coronavirus pandemic.

Lily Mariah Kellogg Hollister is also appreciating the beauty and health of living in Bradford County.

“Beauty felt like a staple I needed to survive and thrive in the upcoming ‘social distancing’ and uncertainty. I picked some up along with a bunch of rice yesterday at the store,” said Hollister. 

She added, “The aroma of daffodils is so intoxicating, such a deep memory of early spring resides in that fragrance. It brings with it a memory of happiness, sunshine, growth, that smell of rain on hopeful soil. The aroma feels healing to me in these times of chaos, again bringing me down to Earth, to what keeps showing up beautifully no matter what.”

“Outside the Willows fuzzy flower is out, the Silver Maple is robed in her red lumpy blossoms,” continued Hollister. “The ramps are awakening beneath ground, whispering garlic-y words of medicine on the way. So many plants are awakening. Get outside, it will help your immune system – and your soul – to be in the wild world right now.”

Passion in pandemic
The early blooms, always a welcome sign! (Photo by C. R. Wagner)

Schools are closed, but teachers and administrators are helping out in the community to make sure our students still have the food and other things they need.

The Canton Ministerium and community volunteers have set up “Grab and Go” lunches. The Troy Area School District is offering breakfast and lunch in a drive through fashion at different locations throughout the district. The Towanda Area School District will be providing bagged breakfast/lunches to their children and families while schools are closed. Check their websites or Facebook for more information. 

Teachers are helping in other ways as well.

Lucy Chamberlain, art teacher for Troy Area School District has lent her expertise to help students who are home since schools are closed for several weeks. 

“I am an art teacher. I want your children to be creative. Take time to draw, paint, color, doodle and experiment,” said Chamberlain. “I’m sorting my supplies the next few days and know I have things that your kids can absolutely enjoy; I have some things set aside to give away already. Let me know if you are interested and I can create a collection for you! Who among you wouldn’t like a few sheets of Shrinky Dinks to enjoy? Scratch art paper, nature sun printing paper and some foam sheets for printmaking designs just got added to my pile!”

Businesses are helping to keep that “social distance” and still provide for the community. Area restaurants are remaining open as much as possible, but only on a “take out” basis. And they are maintaining their clean, sanitary procedures for our protection.

Passion in pandemic
More letters and cards Tracey Woodward Froelich will be delivering to county residents who will really appreciate the compassion of their neighbors. Provided photo.

Many of the restaurants are going that “extra mile” also by helping to make sure our children get the meals they need.

“Due to schools being closed for the next few weeks, many children in our area will miss out on the benefits of meals provided to them while at school,” said Karl Gundersen, owner of Vinnie’s II in Troy.  

In response to such a concern, on Monday, March 16, Gundersen was offering free spaghetti meals to children, asking parents to bring them to the front door. A meal was given to them – “No questions asked.”

Delivered Fresh, a source for local products, including organic produce, is helping the community to keep shopping local. It’s important to support the small local businesses here.

According to David Nowacoski, during this time of social distancing, they will deliver their customers’ groceries without fee, wherever they are in their service area.  

“We want you to know that you will not go hungry and you will not have to take the chance of going to the store,” said Nowacoski. “We got your back!”

“You have shown us so much support over the last two years, we want to step up and make sure that you have what you need to get through this safely,” continued Nowacoski.  

Other businesses are doing their part to follow the suggestions of social distancing. 

“Upon receiving the information provided by Governor Wolf suggesting the closure of non-essential businesses, I have decided it is in the best interest of my customers and myself to temporarily close for the next two weeks in an effort to create some social distance,” said Paige Jennings, owner of Gloss Studio in Troy. “It is not something I want to do, but I feel it is my responsibility not only as a salon professional and business owner, but as a daughter, granddaughter, and community member to do my part to minimize the spread of illness to those who are vulnerable.”

“I temporarily closed my small business in its infancy because IT IS NOT ABOUT ME,” continued Jennings. “The financial loss hurts, of course, but it is not as painful as it would be to unknowingly infect someone who doesn’t have the ability to fight off infection and survive. So I will take the financial hit to protect people who need protecting.”

Animal shelters in our community are also encouraging common sense distancing, and stress that while people are staying home it’s a good time to spend some extra time with the four-legged ones – it’s definitely a stress reliever.

Our community is full of people who are feeling the affects of the coronavirus, even though they may not feel ill, and are staying as positive as they can.

I am one of those. In fact, I just realized that it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Time to plant snow peas. As soon as I finish this article, I’m going to my garden.

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