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Royal Manor Community Lends a Helping Hand April 2020

In this unprecedented time, it’s more important than ever to come together and help each other. When it was first announced that schools needed to pivot to distance learning, several Royal Manor Elementary office staff, including principal Alissa Lopez, immediately started discussing what they could do to help families in need. Since they couldn’t be in contact with those families, they decided to get plastic containers and start collecting donations.

The containers were first set at the front doors of the elementary school on March 16. Royal Manor parent and clinic aide, Ashley O’Rourke, quickly began sharing images of the donations on social media to spread the word to families in the community. From her posts, the containers filled quickly.

“A simple post on social media ended up making a huge impact,” said O’Rourke. “A few people shared and commented, and from there, it just kind of blew up and people were quick to give what they could in response.”

Shortly after the Helping Hands donation boxes were set up, the Rodriguez family, who have two boys at the school, reached out about building a permanent structure for it.

“The decision was easy,” said Lopez. “The permanent structure keeps donations protected from weather and it feels more inviting than the plastic bins alone.”

When COVID 19 caused mass shutdowns and layoffs, Stephanie Rodriguez knew she wanted to do something to help people in need.

“I’d seen blessing boxes on social media before and thought it would be great to turn the donation containers into one,” said Rodriguez. “My husband built the box and my sons and I painted it.”

The box was installed on March 30 and families were alerted to take what they need and donate what they can. Many people are using social media to communicate what they are in need of and what they have been grateful to find.

Those who are able to give are encouraged to donate food, household supplies and personal hygiene items. They can also keep an eye on community social media updates from Rodriguez and O’Rourke regarding what’s needed at the pantry.

“The community response has been amazing to see,” said Lopez. “To watch the way the Royal Manor family has come together to lend a hand to one another is something very special to be a part of!”