As we continue to deal with the challenges presented to us by the COVID-19 and its impact on our daily lives, it is incumbent on us not to fall into despair or depression. Now, more than any other time in our lives we must continue to stay strong and look after those that can’t be strong during these trying times.
These are difficult times for all of us, especially due to the fact that as human beings we enjoy the interaction with others. I’ve always enjoyed having that cup of coffee in the morning with my group. My good friends, Bill, Ray, Carmen, Ken, Stan and Mike were regulars at Dunkin Donuts, Monday through Friday like clockwork, until the latest restrictions went into effect.
We didn’t get a lot solved, with the exception of agreeing to disagree about a number of items. Occasionally, others would sit in and offer their points of view, which of course would ignite another round of debates, which usually didn’t end any better. It always was fun, and we were appreciative of the comradery we as a group shared, whether we agreed with each other or not.
We as residents of the island have to reflect on the wonderful gifts we are given every day, that we sometimes overlook due to their abundance. Those gifts come to us in the people we surround ourselves with, our friends, neighbors and those that look out after us.
Think about those people that are out there every day performing tasks that make our lives a little simpler or even make them more livable for many who need a special helping hand.
I think about the men and women who volunteer at Our Daily Food Pantry. Yes, they deal in providing nourishing food, but more so than that they offer hope to those that might need that little glimmer of positive energy in their lives.
They have done a marvelous job over these last 4 years of their existence and on every second and fourth Saturday of each month from 10 AM until noon to receive their lifeline of foodstuffs that help them get through the month. You might check with them for their expanded hours at their location at 1450 Winterberry Drive by appointment.
What a wonderful effort that saw its genesis within the hearts of four ladies committed to doing something good for the greater Marco community.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the efforts being made by about 30 plus women on the island who have banded together to make simple face masks. First they were produced for healthcare workers at local health care facilities, and then the efforts spread to members of the Marco Community.
Many, if not all of these volunteers, belong to the group Marco Patriots Sewing Angels, an offshoot of the Marco Patriots here on the island. They individually produce the masks in their homes and then the pickup of the finished product is coordinated by Wendy Morell of that group and delivered out to recipients.
What a wonderful effort by this group and a shout out to Marco Canvas on the island who assisted the group out by cutting some of their patterns, making this a great community effort.
In addition, the Marco Patriots have given out $2500 in food gift cards which will assist workers who have lost their jobs due to the closures for numerous businesses here and in the greater Marco area. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.
Of course, you’ll find the Mobil Food Pantry at either Manatee Middle School in East Naples or St. Marks Episcopal Church on Marco carrying out their mission to keep people fed. They are at St. Marks on the first and third Friday from 3:15 to 4:30 in the afternoon. They are at the Manatee Middle School on the fourth Friday of each month during the same time period. Once again, they are out there helping to feed those most in need.
One last great outreach program is being done in a collaborative effort between the Greater Marco YMCA, the Community Foundation of Collier County and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce. Those three groups have joined forces to identify working families that have been impacted by layoffs here on the island and will assist with housing needs such as rent, electric and other incidentals.
As we come out of these dark days and we will, we should reflect on the lessons we’ve learned from these events. We should learn to say thank you more often, share a smile with all we come in contact with and be more appreciative of this great life we have.
In addition to that, we should take the time to appreciate and not take for granted this wonderful place we call home and the people and organizations that make it such a wonderful place.