The beloved children’s show host Mr. Rogers always said when he saw scary things on the news, his mother told him to ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
Carolyn Chiarello, of Ivyland, is reminded of this quote as her family has been working throughout the pandemic to put together lunches for the homeless in her community as part of the Frontline Response Foundation.
This foundation was started as a response to the pandemic, first beginning with a mission to give back and say thanks to the frontline responders, and evolving to help the community and those who are less fortunate.
In the wake of the pandemic, even more people are struggling to eat, facing homelessness or suffering from food insecurity.
Children across the community have been working hard to make a difference for those in need, by helping to make lunches which are delivered to those in need across the local area, and throughout cities such as Philadelphia and Camden.
“There’s so many scary things happening right now and our kids who are involved really feel it,” says Carolyn, “but this way they can be ‘the helpers’ and feel that power that comes from helping others.”
Carolyn’s three kids were some of the first to become involved in the Frontline Response Foundation, and have been hard at work, even including positive quotes or drawings inside each lunch bag for an additional uplifting touch.
“Sayings like, ‘life’s tough but so are you,’” Carolyn says. “Just something extra to help put a smile on people’s faces.”
The foundation was first brought to life by Bill Bunting when he came up with the idea at the end of March.
Bill wanted to find a way to give back to those who were doing so much to fight this pandemic at the frontlines, and started delivering meals, snacks and treats to ER and ICU departments as well as fire stations, police departments, EMTs, and assisted living facilities.
The idea blossomed from there, growing to include elementary school kids and parents throughout Northampton Township signing up to help make lunches and provide supplies or donations to the cause.
“I’m overwhelmed with how responsive the community has been,” Carolyn said.
The enthusiastic response of the community only continues to grow, with a sign-up sheet stretching into the summer.
Some people are donating time and supplies to make the lunches, adding items to their grocery orders in order to make extra sandwiches.
Others donate money, drop off supplies at Carolyn’s house, or take on other tasks in the network that the foundation has become of volunteers, business owners, nonprofits, and distributors all focused on serving those most affected by the pandemic in Bucks County and its surrounding areas.
Another large part of the foundation’s work is delivering lunch bags to the homeless in Philadelphia and Camden.
The lunches are also delivered to food pantries or homeless shelters which have started their own outreach to distribute food to the homeless.
Each month since beginning at the start of April, the foundation has donated over 1,000 lunches.
The Frontline Response Foundation’s efforts will continue as long as COVID-19 causes healthcare workers to stay in harm’s way and food shortages to hit underserved populations.
“We will continue as long as there’s a need,” Carolyn said.
Local families who would like to donate or assemble meals for the homeless may contact Carolyn at email@example.com for details on ways to help others from the safety of your own home.
In times when there are scary things on the news, finding the helpers and, even, becoming the helpers can make a world of a difference.
You can also visit their website www.frontlineresponsefoundation.com to find more information on the foundation or learn how to further get involved.
PHOTO CAP: Jimmy and Luciana Hartzel prepare lunches for the Frontline Response Foundation.