In these uncertain times, it's easy to get consumed by all the negativity and lose sight of all the positive things going on in our community.
Even the simplest gestures go a long way when hope feels like it's dwindling. From helping your fellow neighbor give out food to sewing masks for the community, every good deed deserves recognition in times like these.
We all could use a little pick-me-up, so here are some of the great things our residents are doing to lift the community's spirits.
State Farm agents lending a helping hand
Donating food boxes isn't in Daniel Burton's job description as a State Farm Insurance Agent, but it didn't stop him from using his office in East Petersburg to supply food to those in need during this pandemic.
On Wednesday, May 6, Burton, along with his family and several volunteers, gave away 225 boxes of food, each weighing approximately 40 pounds.
The food boxes came from the Blessings of Hope in Leola. Burton and his family have helped the distribution service box their food numerous times and he's also a frequent donor to the Blessings of Hope.
In an effort to give food out to as many people as possible, Burton purchased 225 boxes of food from the Blessings of Hope and they allowed him to redistribute the boxes at his State Farm office in East Petersburg.
"This community is just awesome," Burton said. "About 50 percent of the people who came to pick up food were picking it up for a loved one or a friend in need."
This wasn't the first time Burton has teamed up with Blessings of Hope and it certainly won't be the last.
"It was really empowering," Burton said. "Seeing all the people come to pick up for others and hearing all the humbling stories from these people, it was a true blessing for me."
For information on the next giveaway at Burton's office, check out his Facebook page.
Burton isn't the only State Farm agent looking to make a difference in our community, though. Three agents, two from Mount Joy and the other residing in Elizabethtown, teamed up to donate to Mount Joy Helping Services' food pantry program, Community Food Banks.
Agents Joel Langdon, Craig Rothstein and Greg Sallade donated a total of $1,500 to the program to ensure Mount Joy can continue to provide resources to those who need them.
"We got together and decided to help the Community Food Bank since so many food banks are getting stretched thin these days," the State Farm agents shared in a joint statement. "We wanted to take this opportunity to give back and help our local community."
The Bagged Lunch Program
Ever since the pandemic hit our community, Steven's Fire Co. has done their part to help those in need.
Through their bagged lunch program, the fire company has given away thousands of free lunches to families.
If you'd like to donate to their cause, or if you have any questions about the Bagged Lunch Program, visit their website.
MAKE/FILMS is a full-service video production company based in downtown Lancaster. They produce videos for a wide variety of purposes and most of them are viewable on their Facebook or Instagram pages.
On April 22, MAKE/FILMS created "Dear Lancaster", a love letter to the community we live, work and play in. The video has received an outpouring of love through social media.
Here's the full video:
Manheim girl sews 1,000 masks for those in need
What started off as a basic Girls Scout project turned into something much bigger than Ansley Ryan could have ever imagined.
The 16-year-old Ansley wanted to help members of her Manheim community during the pandemic. So, Ansley, her mother and her grandma started sewing masks at their home. Once they had enough sewn, Ansley set up shop at the end of her driveway with her basket of free masks.
The original goal was to giveaway 50 masks, but once social media caught wind of Ansley's masks, it became clear that 50 would not be enough to help everyone who wanted to get their hands on one.
Ansley and her family ended up sewing and handing out 1,000 masks to people in their community -- every single one being free of charge.
Each mask even came equipped with a six-page manual on how to maintain the mask and how to make your own.
"Needless to say, we are very proud of her contribution to the community," said Ansley's father, Tim.
Free books for local students
Every December, Aaron's Books and Lititz Woman's Club work together to provide books for local children as part of LWC's Child Reach program.
With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down all the schools in Pennsylvania, Aaron's Books and Lititz Woman's Club have partnered up again to provide free books for more than 400 students in the Warwick School District.
With popular titles like "Nate the Great" and "The Book Thief" to choose from, students had the option to pick one of six award winning books.
“We know that having books at home is so important to growing every child’s curiosity, learning development, and a lifelong love of reading,” said Aaron’s co-owner Todd Dickinson.
Susquehanna Nursing Home Parade
It's impossible to deny the profound impact this pandemic has had on nursing homes. Aside from the staggering death tolls in these homes, residents have been confined to their rooms and cut off from the outside world in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
It's not fair that these residents are unable to see their friends and loved ones, but unfortunately, interacting in close quarters is too dangerous of a risk.
Susquehanna Valley Nursing and Rehab in Columbia recognized this issue and wanted to do their part in helping their residents see the ones who matter to them the most.
On Friday, May 15, the nursing center held a Family Drive-by Parade with their residents outside, but still socially distanced.
Families who participated in the parade made posters to show to their loved ones in the home, and the residents returned the love with posters of their own.
Baby goats at the Amish Farm
This may not constitute as a "good deed" in our community, but it'll more than likely put a smile on your face.
The Amish Farm and House is home to plenty of cute farm animals. Unfortunately, they're temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but that didn't stop them from sharing some photos of their recent baby boom.
They currently have eight newborn goats to add to their family, and the owners just added a beautiful area for the kids to mingle in. They call it their "Goat Bridge."
No Kid Hungry
Since schools across the state closed due to the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Wolf, an estimated 975,000 student meals have been missed. No Kid Hungry, a national campaign aimed at solving the problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and all around the world, launched the "Run Against Hunger" fundraiser to encourage runners to help raise money to fight the hunger issues we're dealing with amid the pandemic.
Once the 6-year-old Holden Shirley, from Mechanicsburg, heard about the initiative, he jumped at the opportunity to help, but he decided to put a little twist on it. Instead of participating in the "Run Against Hunger," Holden created the "Ride Against Hunger," using the fundraising platform Pledge It.
Holden's goal was to ride his bicycle a total of 25 miles to raise $1,000 in one week, which he would then donate to No Kid Hungry. He then asked for his family and friends to show their support by making a donation per mile on his Pledge It page.
With 30 supporters coming together to donate $59.60 for every mile Holden logged, he came away with $1,500 to donate to No Kid Hungry, far exceeding his initial expectations. No Kid Hungry provides 10 meal for every $1 they raise, so Holden's donation helped provide 15,000 meals for those who need them.
"When I heard that some kids wouldn't have food to eat because school is closed, it made me really sad for them and I told my mom and dad I wanted to help," says Holden.
PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation also committed to match all donations made to No Kid Hungry, including Holden's $1,500.
With the generous help of Pepsi along with a few more donations from those in the community, Holden raised a total of $4,229, which equates to 42,290 meals.
It's remarkable what a 6-year-old can accomplish with a little determination and some help from his parents.
3D printed face masks
While you've probably seen your fair share of medical or N95 masks during this pandemic, you probably haven't noticed many 3D printed face shields on your trips to the local grocery store.
Brelan Blake and his company, DesignPoint, have been manufacturing 3D printed face shields to donate to local hospitals. To date, the company has designed and distributed over 4,000 3D printed face shields to healthcare facilities all over the North East region of the United States.
Initially, Brelan was making these masks on his own with his own 3D printing equipment at his house. He had donated 200 on his own before DesignPoint stepped in and lent a helping hand.
Locally, Brelan and his team have donated these shields to Lancaster General Health. They've also recently started donating to nursing homes in the Lancaster area, giving away 300 masks to Willow Valley Communities and 100 to Landis Homes.
If you'd like to take action to help DesignPoint create some of these 3D printed masks, you can visit their website. There, you'll get a run down of the basic materials you'll need to create one along with a step-by-step procedure to follow.
Brelan and his DesignPoint team plan to continue donating masks for as long as the healthcare facilities need them.