Never was there as good a time for practicing leadership the St. Luke’s way as right now. As we often explain in the Center for Leadership (CFL), leadership is about moving your community forward and making them better. It’s something everyone can do. Given the challenges of COVID-19, it’s up to all of us to do whatever we can to make our communities better. Yesterday, our Head of School Mark Davis wrote very compellingly about social distancing as a compassionate act of leadership in slowing down the spread of this virus. I am among those who canceled much-anticipated travel plans and am hunkering down for a period of social semi-isolation. And while we remain socially apart it’s an important time to come together as a community, as the Greater Good Magazine points out.
And there are other things we can all do to make our communities better in the midst of this crisis. I’ve been thinking a lot about people struggling with financial hardship in the best of times and have been deeply concerned about them. How are they getting along now that nonprofits are turning away volunteers? What’s happening to their funds now that people are panicking over their investments? There is evidence that acting outside of ourselves can help us with our own anxieties about our situation, as Lisa Damour highlights in #3 on her list of Five Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus. I have reached out to a number of our partner organizations to see how St. Luke’s School might be of service to them. It seems as though the biggest need (in addition to money) is food. Whether you’re willing to bring the food directly to the sites or order food through Peapod or similar local service, anything you can donate would be much appreciated. Some organizations that have reached out to us for help include:
- Filling in the Blanks typically provides meals for food-insecure students over the weekends and is now working to fill the gap created by schools being closed. Here’s a list of the food they need. Food can be dropped off at their facility at 340 Main Ave. in Norwalk on Monday-Thursday at 9:00am-4:00pm or on Fridays you can contact Tina Kramer (SLS parent and co-founder of Filling in the Blanks) about donations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Inspirica, an organization in Stamford working to break the cycle of homelessness has canceled their nightly meal program and so they also need food for their families. Here’s a list of non-perishable items they’ve identified. Food can be delivered to 141 Franklin St. in Stamford.
- The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food for non-profits in the area and has identified a significant gap as many food drives are no longer happening. Here’s their article on their challenges during this time and how you can help. Food can be delivered to 461 Glenbrook Rd., Stamford.
- Open Door Shelter in Norwalk provides food, shelter, and clothing for those who need them. They have asked for food to be delivered to 129 South Main Street, Norwalk. They need dried beans, pasta sauce, canned tuna, 2 lb. bags of rice, grape or strawberry jelly, shelf-stable milk, coffee, and reusable grocery bags.
- Person-to-Person in Darien, Norwalk, and Stamford meets a variety of basic needs for our neighbors promoting educated, financially-stable, hunger-free homes for everyone. They will be conducting an online food drive over the coming weeks which will allow people to order wholesale and fresh food. That link is forthcoming and will be posted as an announcement on the Service Resource Board (keep your eye on that resource for more suggestions on ways you can help throughout this time).
If you know anyone who is in need of any services, please consider referring them to any of these above organizations. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help and I’m grateful for every one of them. Let’s all work together to lead one another through this crisis with calm, thoughtful, compassionate vision.
St. Luke’s is a private, secular (non-religious) independent school in New Canaan, CT serving grades 5-12. St. Luke’s mission: An exceptional education that inspires a deep love of learning, a strong moral compass, the commitment to serve, and the confidence to lead.
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