It’s Friday afternoon, the sun is shining, and we have made it through Week Two of remote living. How are you holding up?
Last night, we held our first-ever teleconference board meeting. While we much prefer meeting in person over a shared meal, it was nice to see each other’s faces on the screen and get some work done. We were delighted to welcome Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg), by phone, to share his perspective on 2020 General Assembly Session bills on agricultural vitality, clean water, and local land use issues for the Valley.
Of course, the Alliance closed our New Market office, and staff have been working 100% remotely the last couple of weeks. Even though we’re practicing physical distance, we’re still plugged in. Kim, Kim and Nancy are continuing the Alliance work in local communities, ensuring our land, water and way of life is protected, even through a pandemic. Most local governments have paused public meetings or moved to virtual meetings, and we’re still following what’s going on to let you know when there’s a time to speak up.
What’s most encouraging is the way communities all over the Shenandoah Valley are responding to the very-real disruption of this virus in such positive ways.
In Harrisonburg and Rockingham, citizens mobilized on Facebook and within days had built out a group to connect those with needs to those with resources. You can join that group here (also covers Augusta and Page counties). We’ve seen businesses offer up their closed locations as drop-off and pickup points and community- sourcing bags for the local school lunch programs to get food to families that need it.
We first saw in Staunton and now in other towns that local law enforcement is working with restaurants to make sure there are dedicated pick-up zones at their front doors, so that while dining rooms are closed to the public, it’s still convenient to enjoy takeout. Local food producers have joined together to create a Local Food Drive Thru in Staunton, where you can place an order for a bag of locally grown products and simply drive up on your pickup day, when your bag will be loaded in your car for you.
Further north, Visit Shenandoah County keeps posting the creative ways that local businesses are serving the community—from curb-side delivery to drop-off sites. And our good friends at the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce are using their Facebook page to push out helpful information about food options for families and support for our small businesses.
This is the community resiliency that will get us through. We’re all in this together, and the work we do together to maintain our small-town communities will pay off, when we look back on this historic moment. Thanks for all you do.
Stay safe and healthy!