The following was written by Kirsten Langhorne, who serves on the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, as part of our Board Perspective blog series.
I became a bit of a prepper the day I became a mother. I stockpiled diapers, baby food, and onesies. Y2K brought jugged water and cases of Mac and Cheese. But this spring has brought me to a whole new level of anxiety about being prepared. If I were courageous enough to screenshot my Amazon Orders history and its middle-of-the-night orders delivered far and wide, I would reveal a window into my COVID-crisis soul. For weeks, awakening after a few hours, I’d pull up the news on my phone and responded to some new scare. A report suggests Ibuprofen worsens some COVID symptoms? Tylenol is on the way. There might be food shortages? 10 lb. lentil bags will carry us over. We are buried in Amazon boxes that have brought us necessities and excessive precautions alike. My family is as prepared as we can be.
Now it is time for me to focus my concern and spending on our many neighbors who have not had the luxury to soothe their COVID anxieties through the efficiencies of online shopping. The community members who are watching every dollar to keep their families fed and sheltered need attention. The organizations critical to the welfare of our elderly or are sheltering abused women and children of caring for abandoned animals are facing harder times than they ever contemplated. Thankfully, Give Choose is up and running and is a wonderful way to get out of our own heads and help those needing tangible support and affirmation that their community sees them and cares.
If you haven’t participated in Give Choose, it is an annual online giving event sponsored by our local Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. Eighty-four local organizations supporting just about every cause have signed up to participate, hoping to raise critical money to replace funds lost to COVID. Events have been canceled, fee services have stopped, and regular funders have had to tighten their belts. Our local agencies, born out of a deep desire to contribute to a better future for our community, are now facing their own uncertain futures and it is up to us to keep their doors open, lights on, and staff ready to do what they do best: care for others.
I am pledging to spend the next week soothing my anxieties by using my resources (and phone in the wee hours of the morning) to stop focusing on myself and my family and resume thinking about my neighbors in need. I am guessing it is going to be much more comforting than the mountain of Amazon boxes crowding my dining room.
You can donate to local nonprofits on May 5 by visiting www.givechoose.org, or scheduling your gift in advance between April 21-May 4.