There’s a saying, We plan, and God laughs.
News of COVID-19, the new strain of the coronavirus, creeping ever closer to our neighborhoods has brought much anxiety to our lives. Add to that the cancellations of community activities, some of which we rely on to bring happiness and a sense of calm.
Daily we find ourselves looking for ways to keep our loved ones safe.
This requires some planning. But for so many, this planning can be overwhelming — even seemingly impossible.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced March 13 that all kindergarten through grade 12 Pennsylvania schools would be closed for 10 business days, effective March 16.
Many families count on the meals, breakfast and lunch, that their children receive during the school day. Thankfully, that panic among parents was recognized quickly.
According to Wolf, the federal government has cleared Pennsylvania to serve meals to low-income students in “non-congregate settings” during the closures. Planning for this is in the works in school districts across the state.
In our own backyard, the Northwestern Lehigh School District is helping families in the district through these difficult times.
They have put in place a program that will help continue to feed students who qualify for free and reduced lunch during the extended closure due to COVID-19.
·Kindergarten through grade 12 students who qualify for free and reduced lunch for the 2019-20 school year.
What does it cost?
·One meal per kindergarten through grade 12 student who qualifies for free and reduced lunch for the 2019-2020 school year will be provided at no cost.
How does it work?
·Families can pre-order a breakfast and lunch for the following day by using the form at forms.gle/276J8cHr2ShTVzsX9.
·This form will be available daily between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
·Each day the meal will include both the breakfast and lunch.
·Submit only one order per day per family.
·You need your child’s student ID. This is the number your child uses for lunch. Ask him or her what code they type in for lunch at school.
The full details of the program can be found on page A15 of this week’s edition of the Northwestern Press.
The Parkland School District Food Outreach Team provided the following information to families:
If you have a Parkland student who needs food assistance, email ParklandREACH@parklandsd.org or call 610-351-5753 with your particular circumstance and the Parkland School District Food Outreach Team will respond.
Please be sure to include your student’s name.
Also note additional food bank resources in the community:
·Parkland CARES, 484-707-1133. This food pantry will have a distribution 4:30-7 p.m. March 18. The distribution will take place at Kernsville Elementary School, 5051 Kernsville Road, Orefield.
This will be a drive-thru pantry only. Families must stay in their cars at all times. Arrive no earlier than 4:15 p.m. and bring ID. Food will be distributed upon availability.
All cars must enter off Kernsville Road and follow instructions on where to proceed. We ask each family to drive carefully and be aware of people and cars around them.
This opening replaces the previously scheduled March 21 opening.
Check parklandcaresfp.org for updates.
·Jordan Lutheran Church 5103 Snowdrift Road, Orefield. Phone: 610-395-5912. First and third Monday of the month, 9-11 a.m. First Wednesday of the month, 6-7 p.m.
Anyone in need should call to confirm pickup is available.
·St. Paul’s United Church of Christ 1249 Trexlertown Road, Trexlertown, PA 18087 Phone: 610-395-4571.
From 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday. Call first to ensure pickup is still available.
Must show proof of residency in Lehigh County.
·Union Lutheran Church Free Little Pantry 5500 Route 873, Schnecksville. Phone: 610- 767-6884 or go to ulclv.org.
Food and personal items located in the “Free Little Pantry,” located in the parking lot outside the main entrance, are available for free anytime of the day and night.
Parents are also struggling with child care. Some might not be able to afford to take off from work to stay home with their kids. Others might be without work because their places of employment — sports arenas, for example — have closed in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. Both the NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons.
Some professional sports organizations have stepped up to help workers pay their bills. The owners of these teams announced they would pay arena workers as if the games were taking place.
Families’ struggles may also include older children. Many colleges and universities have decided to close their campuses and finish the spring semester with online classes.
This sudden transition isn’t easy for these young adults, who have looked to us parents for the facts of the coronavirus spread, instead of the “whisper-down-the-alley” news they had been hearing and likely sharing.
We’ve been reminding them to wash their hands and watch for symptoms, all the while reassuring them they are safe. Suddenly, without much warning, they are told to pack up and head for home.
I have witnessed the sadness and anxiety of this firsthand. Parents, please notice if your children are struggling with this. Some might be angry. Others might now be frightened.
It’s important we care for each other right now, with food and monetary donations, with encouragement to our loved ones and, by all means, with kind words to our neighbors.
If you often post things on social media, please consider positive quotes or ideas for ways to help others.
A teacher in the Bethlehem Area School District suggested that, while they are home from school, kids write notes and color pictures for residents of nursing homes. What a nice way to teach children compassion while lifting the spirits of seniors, who can’t have visitors right now.
A recent message on Twitter asked to be connected with a family in the Phoenix, Ariz., area who will have lost income because of the coronavirus and cannot pay a bill.
The family who posted the Tweet wanted to try to help, citing Acts 20:35 — “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
How can you be of help at this time? Can you provide some food or make a monetary donation?
Can you share some items you’ve stockpiled and are no longer available in stores? Can you simply offer encouragement and kindness and raise people up?
Whatever you can do, make a plan to do just that.
I believe in this case, If we plan, He would be pleased.