The BIG Shift
Who would have that thought in mid-March, when our organization, Holly City Development Corporation, decided to work remotely, that seven months later we would still be in the midst of a pandemic? No one did. We had projects and programming in place, and we were prepared to start many of them in April as the weather warmed.
We had just hosted a paint party, where art students from Rowan College of South Jersey primed the 10 Little Libraries that we then delivered to our partner agencies to paint and decorate. Our Community Garden project was also progressing. The municipal lot had been selected, residents surveyed, and partnerships formed. Community cleanup and garden build days were scheduled. We were gaining momentum and it was very exciting.
Then reality hit. Our community partners that housed the little libraries either closed or shifted to working remotely. The City of Millville halted the crew that was slated to grade the garden, install the water line and repair the sidewalk. This made us uneasy, as we had deadlines to meet.
As the weeks passed, it became apparent that these projects would be put on hold and that our programming would have to shift.
Part of our work centers around families, providing resources, mentoring and support. How were we going to meet with our groups of moms, teens and families?
Part of our work centers around families, providing resources, mentoring and support. How were we going to meet with our groups of moms, teens and families? At that time, virtual conferencing platforms entered our lives. Thank goodness for apps such as Zoom. This wonderful digital tool helped us to stay connected, continue our group work and conduct our staff meetings. Our partnerships regrouped as we all learned new ways to operate and collaborate. Thankfully, New Jersey Health Initiatives understood and graciously extended our grant timeline. We are back on track to implement our projects.
We will have six of the 10 little libraries installed before winter comes. They will hold pantry items until we feel it is safe for people to browse through books. As for the community garden initiative, the city is installing the water line, grading the lot and repairing the sidewalk. We are partnering with other organizations to germinate seeds in February and we will be planting in the spring.
We have learned many new things about the world and about ourselves. There is always a way to serve our community. We are resilient and our hope springs eternal.