25 March

Gift Cards, And A Great Start In The Corona Era.

by Jon Katz

I told a friend I couldn’t figure out why I was tired, and she yelled at me that I was tired because we have been doing a lot in these first weeks of the Corona Era.

I guess she was right. Sometimes, sheltering-in-place can be productive.

Every day, more gift cards arrive at the farm for the Price Chopper supermarket, the chain closest to the Bishop Maginn students and families, who are having a tougher time than they imagined when they came to America.

Please keep the gift cards coming if you can. Food has become a major issue for these refugee students and their families, Sue Silverstein says she has never received so many pleas for help.

A few weeks ago, we bought some healthy snacks for the hungry kids at Bishop Maginn, we thought it would last until summer. Those snacks are feeding more than one family, as people get laid off, fall behind in payments and struggle to care for their families.

To buy gift cards from Price Chopper (Sue Silverstein is distributing them to the families), you go here and buy a card in any amount you choose.

The cards need to be mailed to Bedlam Farm since they can’t be shipped to post office boxes, and packages are not being delivered to the school, which is closed.

So far, we’ve raised close to $2,000 in Price Chopper gift cards for these children and their families. Thank you.

If the economy worsens, which seems likely for a while, they will need more help with food. If you can and choose to buy gift cards, please have them to my address: Jon Katz, 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

I know this is a hard time for many of you, we are not a wealthy army. Help if you can, feel no shame if you can’t. I’ll keep at it. This reminds me of the days after the election in 2016, many of us resolved to do good rather than argue about it, that turns out to have been a grounding, even life-saving force.

But the idea is the same, and it is already working for me. We should be supporting one another, not hating one another.

If you prefer, you can also send checks to me, and I will buy the gift cards directly: same address or Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Linda Jones of Ohio, (below) couldn’t get the Price Chopper Page to take her credit card, so she sent me $200 by mail “for the needs of the refugee students and their families.”

People are quite amazing.

I am proud of what we’ve done so far. We’ve purchased 21 laptops which are going to Albany tomorrow so students without computers can participate in the school’s new Mobile Classroom, learn computing and keep up with their education while the school is closed.

We’ve also purchased 12 cables and battery charges for older computers we are gathering for the Bishop Maginn students. Local cable companies have offered to install WI-FI for up to two months at no charge.

In addition, we’ve bout easels for the Mansion residents to paint on while they are locked indoors without visitors, and also worked with Jean’s Place to provide special lunches and cookies and dessert day tomorrow.

We’re planning a new Mansion Wish List to get some art supplies and movies to the residents to ease their boredom and inactivity.

Monday, we brought a Rainbow Connection flag to the residents to show them we love them and have not forgotten them.

We’ve also been supporting Jean’s Place by focusing on their take-out services, the goal is to keep them going until they can re-open as a restaurant.

That’s a local mission, not a national one. Yesterday, we converted our Little Free Library into a Beans N’ Books station, offered books and healthy soup and beans.

I sometimes think grace was chased away during the late 1960s, a time of riots and assassinations.

I believe that grace is rising up again in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, people are learning again what it means to be a neighbor or a friend.

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