June Happy Hippy Mama

Here we are working and learning at home this past month.  We are all thrilled for June and summer, even if this one may have minimal activities and lots of uncertainty :)  

Hi All-

Is it really June?  How has time passed so quickly yet so slowly?  Time is interesting like that sometimes.  I hope this finds you healthy.  The stress of a worldwide pandemic can certainly wear on you.  Please remember to reach out should you need support.  As I shared last month I have been volunteering at the East Shore United Methodist Church Wednesday night community meal, held each Wednesday from 5 pm-6 pm.  Doing this has brought up some feelings and memories that forced me to look a bit inward during this time.  I shared more about these feelings and a bit about this journey in an article I first wrote for Wish Cleveland.  I thought it would be something that might speak to some of you during this uncertain time.  I hope you enjoy it! 

Finding My Way Back, One Takeout Meal at a Time Suddenly nervous, I put on a medical mask and gloves.  As I pushed a shopping cart filled with bags of takeout dinners across the sunlit parking lot, I couldn’t help but question myself: Is this safe? Is this mask helping? Am I overreacting? Under reacting? Should I be doing this?  Overwhelmed, I paused to take a slow deep breath and then stepped forward to distribute the meals.

I had wipes and hand sanitizer on my cart, offering them as reassurance to community members as we distributed the meals. Some people used them, while others seemed a bit confused as to exactly what was going on. Frankly, I felt a bit confused too. How had the community I thought was so safe been turned so completely upside down with the COVID-19 virus and a worldwide pandemic?

On March 9, 2020, with the announcement of three COVID-19 cases in Ohio, my life and the lives of all Ohioans were forever changed. By Friday, March 13, all Ohio Schools were shut down, and businesses began to temporarily close. Soon after, a stay at home order was issued, and only essential businesses were left open. Ohioans were strongly encouraged to remain in their homes with immediate family members, leaving only for daily outdoor exercise and trips to the store for essential items. We were also asked to wear masks and maintain a physical distance of six feet from each other.

I am a forty-year-old suburban mother who settled into my middle-age lifestyle with a peaceful heart. I work part-time, run for fun, raise four daughters with my husband, and volunteer in our hometown of Euclid. In February, I transitioned into a lead volunteer role at the Soups On Community Meal Mission with East Shore United Methodist Church.

Over the years, this mission has fed fifty to one and fifty hundred community members a hot meal each Wednesday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This work has brought me great joy and reminded me of the fresh-faced eighteen-year-old girl that I once was, the girl who had big plans to join the Peace Corps and help others in big ways.

As it does for all of us, however, life intervened and changed my course. I fell in love, and solo plans for the Peace Corps were no longer at the top of my list. Graduate school, marriage, parenthood, and a new life in Cleveland — just like that, I had changed my life plan.

It’s a life that I cherish. In the quiet spaces, though, when I have a moment to remember who I was before the addition of these five perfectly imperfect people who fill my world, I sometimes wonder. Am I doing enough to remember that eighteen-year-old girl and her dream? The dream of helping people?

Now, my work at the Soups On Mission has suddenly taken on a new purpose. More members of our community are in need of assistance, and the members we were already serving have stronger needs. In recent weeks, a number of our volunteers, many of them over sixty, have chosen to isolate and stay home.  A skeleton crew of five volunteers remains.

Each week, we don our masks and gloves and provide to-go meals and donations of food items.  We do our best to keep ourselves and the community we serve safe by working in shifts and limiting the number of people in the building to just a few at one time, striving to keep six feet between us. We wear gloves and masks as another layer of protection for ourselves and the community members. Fortunately, we also have an abundant supply of hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and soap, further helping us feel safe and secure.

The nervousness I felt during my first week of volunteering during the pandemic has subsided.  Today, I feel peace and confidence in the safety measures we are taking. My heart is full after seeing the smiling faces of so many of our grateful community members.

Sometimes, the small voice in my head still whispers The Peace Corps, just as it did over twenty years ago. Today, though, in the here and now, I find myself in a country torn apart by a pandemic virus. And I’ve discovered that rather than helping in the Peace Corps in a far off country, I can help others right where I am. As sad and frightening as this time is, I can do something small to help and at the same time find my way back to what I have always felt called to do.

If you or someone you know is living in or around  Euclid, Ohio, and can benefit from a weekly hot meal, please visit East Shore Methodist Church online for more information on the Soups On Mission. Nearly every community has a similar program or a local food pantry accepting donations and serving the needs of people nearby. It’s a helpful reminder that in times of global crisis, the best service we can provide is likely close to home.

I hope my words spoke to you in some way, and that you are finding ways to pass the time.  We have enjoyed trying new things in the kitchen.  This past month the kids and I tried making sourdough bread.  Although my "starter"  appears quite active my bread has often left things to be desired.  We have enjoyed trying it even if our bread has turned out a bit hard.  Watch later in this issue and I will share the starter recipe we used.  If you give it a try or if you have a sourdough secret weapon please drop me an email at HappyHippyMama@yahoo.com or find me on Facebook at Happy Hippy Mama and let me know how yours turned out. 

This months mantra: 

I am kind and compassionate with myself through all phases of my life. When I am in transition, I pay extra attention to my needs, and I serve myself by listening to my inner voice. 

Until next time...


Emily Holody

A Peninsula, Ohio, native, Emily Holody is a stay-at-home mother and freelance writer with a degree in Sociology from Kent State University. She has a background in mental health and social work, loves yoga, all things outdoors, and lives in Euclid with her childhood sweetheart and their family.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 11:49 AM, 06.07.2020