We are nearing the one year mark of schools being closed and students participating in distance learning. I am one of the school social workers at a local charter school, St. Paul City School. Our team has had to “reinvent the wheel” while trying to figure out how to best support our students and families during this time. The challenges have been countless but through it all, our community continues to show up and partner with educators in efforts to bring comfort to our students.
I am fortunate to be able to work with a small group of students who had been struggling with online learning at home due to home instability. We are participating in a learning pod in partnership with the Minnesota Science Museum. My students have been getting school support in the morning and then get to engage in STEM activities and look at the exhibits in the afternoon. This alone is a really cool partnership and something positive happening in these stressful times, yet it gets better!
The one downside to this program has been the government-funded cold lunches we have had to serve the students (for various understandable reasons). Our students are provided with a cold sandwich, fruit/vegetable, and milk each day.
I noticed our students began to forgo their lunch, and so I reached out to several local restaurants and was able to find some AMAZING community members who have donated warm lunches to my students without hesitation: Big River Pizza, Hope Breakfast Bar/The Gnome Pub (part of purpose driven restaurants), Keys Cafe, and Pizza Luce have all generously supported my students with warm meals.
Each of these small businesses, I am sure, have felt the effects of the pandemic on their business, yet without thinking twice they stepped up to provide pizza, burgers and fries, soup and grilled cheese to my students.The amount of joy and motivation each meal has brought to my students has been incredible and I thought it would be a great story to share about our community coming together even a year into the devastating pandemic.
As a mom and educator I have become very aware how true the saying “It takes a village” is. I am very thankful for the village I live in, St. Paul, which houses so many generous people who believe in supporting the children here.
Amy Barber, St. Paul
A big SAINTED to the SUV driver who paid for my drive-through order at the Mcdonald’s at Cahill Avenue at Upper 55th Street in Inver Grove Heights. Will pay it forward!
Thomas Vesper, West St. Paul
Sainted. And tainted.
A huge Sainted to the crew that keeps the path around Como Lake in such good condition. All of us walkers (and dogs) really appreciate it.
And a huge Tainted to the people who don’t bother to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice.
We Como people love to walk year round. Now that we have some melting would be the perfect time to bring your shovels out.
Mary Benz, St. Paul
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