By Maureen Gainer Reilly
It’s a word that most of us almost never used to use, and now it’s become the word we call on every day as our community, city, state and country respond to the novel coronavirus. It’s a word that has grown to evoke negative connotations, but it is also a word of hope.
As our community has grappled with unprecedented stay-at-home orders, catastrophic unemployment and school closures, we have also stepped up to the plate with unprecedented generosity. We’ve rallied in support of local businesses, cared for our neighbors and committed to finding a way to be the best parents, workers and teachers we can be every day. We have filled our windows and yards with messages of hope and gratitude for first responders, healthcare and essential workers. We have opened our hearts to people who are struggling through grief, separation from loved ones and isolation. We have embraced who we are as a community and – coming together even as we are apart – created a community that is even stronger and more resilient.
Yes, what is happening around the world and in our little corner of the globe is an unprecedented crisis, but there is also beauty and powerful connection. I love where I live now more than ever before. And I love the opportunity as BAPA Board President to work hand-in-hand as BAPA’s small but mighty staff has responded to COVID-19. They’ve developed comprehensive online resource guides for small businesses and residents, delivered pasta dinners to seniors unsettled by the order to shelter in place, traversed the neighborhood on personal clean-and-greens, organized a car parade that gave hundreds of local residents the chance to lovingly (and loudly!) support Smith Village, and even answered calls for referrals to trusted tradespeople for emergency home projects.
The staff at BAPA has been busier than ever helping our community stay strong and connected during these unprecedented times. But the organization is also facing unprecedented challenges. For the first time in 44 years, there will be no Ridge Run or parade on Memorial Day, and no Home Tour on the third Sunday in May – events that provide critical funding for BAPA. We’re hoping to reschedule for the fall, but there’s no way of knowing when we’ll be able to safely host these events.
We know many of our loyal and generous supporters are hurting right now. People are laid off or have lost jobs, their businesses’ doors have been closed, or their medical bills have been rising. Please know that we are not asking for financial support from our neighbors who can’t help BAPA this year. We are hoping those of you who can support us, will.
Now more than ever before, Beverly/Morgan Park needs BAPA to be keeping our community connected, positive and purposeful during this crisis.
Please join me and my family in making a 2020 membership contribution to BAPA in any amount that’s affordable. If you’re able, considering covering those neighbors who will not be able to give to BAPA this year. You can use the membership envelope inserted in this issue of The Villager or join online at www.bapa.org. If you have any questions or need more information, please call on BAPA Executive Director Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, as neighbors helping neighbors, we’ll make it through these unprecedented times to a bright and better future.