On April 24, 2020, in Round Lake, IL, Big Hollow School District #38 found a way for its students and staff to see each other from a safe distance: a parade!
It even had a philanthropic twist: donations from attendees turned the parade route into a “pantry” worth raiding. Jean Hayes, Random Acts Events Program Coordinator, donated $240 worth of non-perishable goods at the much-needed turnout.
All around the world, people are feeling the effects of isolation due to the pandemic. But the community created a unique way to visit with familiar faces and help out any struggling residents. Hayes said that the teachers, administrators, and staff enjoyed seeing the students and their families again.
Decorations and Delight and Donations, Oh My!
“Our house was on the first street of the route,” Hayes said. “The kids loved this event, and the streets were lined with blankets and fold-out chairs. Decorated signs welcomed the staff into our neighborhood, and lots of cheering was done by students and adults alike.”
Hayes said that as a result of this parade, the Grant Township Food Pantry welcomed an abundance of supplies, essential because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The partnership had “several mini-vans, two trucks with large trailers, and two school buses ready to collect much-needed, non-perishable items”.
School Spirit and Neighborhood Cheer
“We connected with neighbors—from a safe distance, of course,” Hayes said. “Some were inspired by our donation and went to raid their pantry quickly before the parade arrived. Everyone enjoyed the connection and school spirit we had been missing.”
The parade turned out to be a fun vehicle for strengthening old friendships and uniting the residents for support.
“We were so very excited to see our school community, and it was wonderful to see everyone else’s donations as well,” Hayes said. “We were a bit sad afterward knowing we wouldn’t know when we would see any of these people again. However, we know we helped feed our neighbors who are struggling and who make us smile.”
Want to contribute in your area? Contact your Random Acts local regional representative.
If you know of any other organizations doing good things for your community, please nominate them as part of the Random Acts Support Program for COVID-19 relief.