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December 15, 2020 · OPINION

2020 challenges encourage innovation, generosity here

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
A community flyover of vintage planes salutes Fauquier Hospital staffers in May.
By Christy Connolly
PATH Foundation President/CEO

As 2020 mercifully winds to a close, we think of celebrations missed or postponed, unimagined cancellations and time missed with friends and family. So many people have faced painful situations like illness, loss, economic instability and mental health concerns. In short, 2020 has offered anything but clear vision.

But we’ve also been thinking about the many ways we are blessed. As food shortages for families increased, so did donations and efforts to meet those needs. Health care workers and first responders have met the challenges of an evolving crisis to care for the community. Volunteers have found ways to give their time – virtually and in-person – for organizations making life better for others.

Innovation has come in many different forms. Schools have found new ways to offer instruction; businesses and restaurants have adjusted to operations restrictions, and parents have added even more to their plates by monitoring Zoom classes and helping their children handle less time with their friends.

We’ve shown our resilience in developing drive-through farmers markets, standing up against racial inequities, supporting local businesses and restaurants and wearing masks to protect others and ourselves. With the promise of widespread vaccine availability, we look forward to the return of visits with loved ones, graduations, weddings, concerts, ballgames and more.

In the meantime, please continue to follow the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control.

Stay in touch with neighbors through emails and phone calls to help reduce social isolation.

Check the PATH Volunteer Hub’s website —  www.letsvolunteer.org — to find ways to help area organizations, virtually and in-person.  Contact area churches to support ways they’re helping the community.

Consider donating to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s  Now and Forever Emergency Response Fund at donatenow.networkforgood.org/npcf to assist local organizations needed the most during this health crisis.

Remember the food banks.  Contributions make a meaningful difference to people unable to make ends meet, especially 10 months into this trying time.

If you or someone you know needs help finding services, call PATH Community Link at 855-495-5465 or email:  communitylink@pathforyou.org. They can assist in both English and Spanish, and they have over 1,000 resources in their database. Visit online at www.pathcommunitylink.org.

The strength of our community is our people, and that has proven overwhelmingly true this past year. Our mission is to strengthen the health and vitality of our community, both of which continue to be tested. Though the winter looks particularly bleak, the vaccine helps us see light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel.

While we don’t know how 2021 will unfold, the PATH Foundation remains committed to supporting our community and those in need. We hope that you stay well in the holiday season, and we look forward to a brighter future.

The writer lives in Warrenton.
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