“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers
From the beginning of this crisis, we have been so touched by the famous quote from Mr. Rogers about looking for the people rushing into the face of disaster instead of running away.
Many nurses, doctors, emergency service workers, and hospital staff are suiting up to treat medical needs every day. We hope if you have a medical professional in your life that you take the time to call them, write them a note, or reach out to them to extend your appreciation this week. We’ve also noticed that our community is also full of people and organizations searching for ways to meet other physical and emotional needs. COVID-19 has also indirectly impacted access to educational support, family resources, meals for people facing food insecurity, and more. So this week, we are featuring some of the “helpers” around High Point who are working hard to provide resources in this time of need.
For years, Greater High Point Food Alliance has been creating better avenues for serving people facing food insecurity in our community, by improving the ways many High Point organizations and businesses work together to become helpers. With schools closed, many nonprofits operating on reduced budgets or schedules, and even basic items being out of stock at grocery stores, food insecurity is heavily impacted by the effects of COVID-19.
In order to best help our community, GHPFA has been instrumental in sharing resources with Guilford County families on where to find locations for the Grab N Go and Satellite meals – sites that continue to distribute school-provided meals. The GHPFA stays on top of their communication with families through the Guildford County area, and thanks to donations from the Congdon Family Foundation, they’ve aided local food providers with the food and resources to better serve our city.
“COVID-19 does not know any boundaries as it is impacting all of us,” says Carl Vierling, executive director of GHPFA. “If we stand together, we can bounce back from the impact of COVID-19. For the GHPFA, it is about working behind the scenes to support those on the front lines of meeting the nutritional needs of our neighbors.”
Visit the GHPFA website to find out how you can volunteer or donate in partnership with GHPFA. Volunteers are matched to a local community agency based on the preferences of the volunteer and the need of the agencies.
The Arc of High Point exists to serve all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work, and play.
While they cannot serve the community through in-person classes, workshops, and services as they typically do, the Arc of High Point is hosting daily art prompts with their “quarantined art club” and Friday virtual art lessons. They have also introduced the Wild and Free program, which allows their staff to stay connected with participants through daily prompts that encourage life skill building and allow the Arc to maintain connections with their participants.
“Imagine living in a world where you have to justify your existence,” says Sam Baker, the Arc’s Wild and Free Program Director. “Now, imagine that world has a global pandemic and your body is among those most susceptible. This is the reality for the community we serve at The Arc of High Point. Community inclusion is always our focus, but now more than ever we hope to encourage understanding, acceptance and support.”
To support the Arc, you can follow and share their Facebook and Instagram accounts: Wild and Free Facebook, Creative Arts Studio Facebook, The Arc of High Point Facebook. They invite you to share their daily prompts with those who may want to participate in the Arc’s services. You can also donate here to support the Arc of High Point’s continued service to our community.
Lisa Hawley, owner of Southern Roots and founder of Feeding Lisa’s Kids, has been a helper in our community for quite some time. Feeding Lisa’s Kids was started in an effort to deliver food to families struggling with food insecurity. More than ever now that schools are closed, Lisa says that our community needs to rally together to support children who receive meals oftentimes through their schools.
Lisa points out that many of us have felt the strain of trying to make a trip to the grocery store only to find many essentials have been sold out.
“The fear we have about food right now is the fear many live with daily,” Lisa says.
You can get involved and support Feeding Lisa’s Kids by donating to their organization. The group is still able to take medical precautions through social distancing, organizing small groups of volunteers, and wearing masks to deliver food to the families. (They served more than 170 families last month!) To donate, visit Wesley Memorial’s donation page and select, “Feeding Lisa’s Kids.”
The Junior League of High Point, Inc. is an organization of women committed to serving our community through volunteer work, developing strong women in our city, and improving the educational impact of their volunteer leaders. They’ve partnered with organizations throughout the city for years to support the women and children of High Point in a variety of capacities.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically the schools closure, the Junior league is hosting a Virtual Story Time Collection to promote literacy and educational engagement. The collection includes readings by League and community members of dozens of books available at the High Point Public Library.
“We hope parents and students will utilize this free collection to encourage literacy and enhance reading skills,” says Junior League President, Sadie Leder Elder. “School-aged youth can read along with League members as they discover books that are both childhood classics and new favorites. It also promotes imagination and transports readers who may be quarantined at home to new and exciting places in their mind.”
If your family or someone you know would like to participate in the Junior League Virtual Story Time, you can visit their page.
D-UP Inc. is an organization that exists to provide comprehensive services for High Point children and families by promoting health, education, and life readiness. With a wide variety of programming, D-UP focuses on four key areas of support: eating, educational, emotional, and enrichment. They offer a holistic approach to creating healthy physical, mental, and education habits for the community.
The organization, while unable to offer their typical nutrition, exercise, and after-school enrichment programming, is continuing to support families through socially distant visits of the families already enrolled in the Washington Street Enrichment Program.
Executive Director, Jakki Davis says, “There is no down play of the effects to COVID-19; however, D-UP is committed to providing the support families need to ensure COVID-19 will not be a traumatic experience where they cannot recover and live with it the remainder of their lives. We cannot do it alone. Therefore we need the continual support of High Point so our youth and their families come out thriving.”
To support D-UP Inc., you can donate books, puzzles, board games, arts supplies, and recreational items such as balls, jump ropes, etc. Both resource donations and monetary donations to D-UP Inc., can be dropped off at D-UP Inc. 613 Washington Street, High Point, NC 27260. Contact Jakki Davis at 336-383-6048 to schedule a drop off time.
The City of High Point
Last but not least, our city is working hard to ensure that we are all kept safe, up-to-date, and well cared for during this time of crisis. The city continues to serve in full-capacity, by supporting businesses and charitable giving through organizations like the Chamber, the Greater High Point Food Alliance, the CVB, the Congdon Family Foundation, the Hayden-Harman Foundation, the United Way, and more.
As Mayor Jay Wagner said in a recent city update, “This is a challenging time and we do not have any assurances about when things will return to normal. There is one thing for which there is no doubt. All of us are only as strong as each of us. We can do this! We must do this. No matter the challenge or crisis that comes our way, we are strong. We are High Point!”
To stay up to date on all things crisis related, as well as to discover opportunities to get involved in our community, you can like the city’s Facebook page @Cityofhighpoint and share their alerts and notifications. You can also sign up for emergency alerts at HighPointNC.gov/list.aspx.
Want to find more helpers and maybe become a helper yourself? Visit the High Point Community Resource page for a comprehensive list of organizations and services that can support a wide variety of needs in this time.
Even if we’re not able to get out and serve, we can share resources with those with needs to make sure all in our city have access to help they deserve! More than anything during this time, we hope that you are inspired by the helpers all around us to engage. Whether that’s giving when you are financially able, sharing a resource with a friend, or simply accepting help from your community when you need it, you can look for the helpers in times of crisis too.