It Takes A Village
Pocket Greenhaven shows love in crisis
By Corky Mau
Shelter in place. Essential or non-essential services. Physical distancing. Distance learning. Empty store shelves. Restaurants with only take-out service. Toilet paper hoarding. Retail clerks shielded behind plastic walls. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Wear gloves and facemasks in public.
This has been our new normal since mid-March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay at home” order. How have Pocket and Greenhaven residents managed?
Walk around our neighborhood and the greenbelt canal. You will see inspirational “chalk the walks” messages. It’s art therapy for all of us. People find creative and compassionate ways to handle anxiety and pay it forward.
Serene Erby and Judy Friedman make an effort to stay in touch with others. “I suspect others feel alone, vulnerable and a little helpless,” Friedman says. “So, I’m trying to stay in touch on a daily basis with my friends via a phone call, email and text.”
Blythe Antrim and son Logan shop and run errands for others. Sherrie Stanley delivers her homegrown Meyer lemons to friends. “I’m getting much-needed exercise on my bike and it feels good to share our crop with others,” she says.
Students at the School of Engineering and Sciences, along with other gardeners, donate their community vegetable bounty to residents in need. Art Ballad offers free landscaping maintenance to employees at the Rush River Bel Air grocery store.
A number of residents create facemasks for local medical facilities. Cassie Fong and Helen Yee, avid pickleball players, rally fellow players to temporarily trade their paddles for scissors and sewing machines.
“Elastic seems to be in short supply, so if you know of any sources of elastic, we’d love them!” Helen says. “Fabric and elastic can be dropped off at the Asian Community Center.”
Local Easter hunts were canceled. David Stuart, Amanda Dasinger and Rowena Lopez organize teddy bear hunts for children. People join “drive through” birthday parties.
I’m using Zoom to get virtual hugs from my family in Hawaii. My neighbors check to make sure I’m OK. When Chris Yorita does a Costco run for his parents, he offers to shop for me. Peggy and Craig Lindsey offer to deliver a home-cooked meal. Rick Zeman and Steve Gibson, my library bookstore buddies, call to offer a hand.
In spite of losing two Faith Presbyterian congregation members to the virus, Pastor Jeff Chapman works to bring comfort to others. Weekly worship services are done online and “House to House” messages of encouragement are emailed daily.
The local office of Meals on Wheels has adjusted meal deliveries. Instead of daily deliveries, three weeks of frozen and shelf-stable foods are delivered at one time. “Our volunteer workforce is mostly retired or older individuals,” says executive director Kevin McAllister. “We lost 75 percent of them when the stay-at-home order went into effect. Fortunately, others stepped in to make sure our homebound participants are being cared for.”
Thank you to all the essential workers in our community—medical personnel, grocery and retail clerks, suppliers and truckers, postal workers, restaurants, educators and more.
Pocket Greenhaven was already a wonderful place to live, play and work. Now we are making our community even better and stronger. Take care of yourself, each other and find joy and hope in this new normal.
Corky Mau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.