Reflections on the Cancellation of our 2020 Bowls of Hope

I remember the day in early March when Jane and I, the co-chairs for Feed Fannin’s Bowls of Hope, initially discussed the effect the novel Coronavirus could possibly have on BOH and how we might have to consider at least doing some things differently to disperse attendees. I also remember how quickly the situation changed less than a week later, and the only decision became to cancel BOH. There was a little push-back expressed at first that cancellation was an overreaction, but it soon became evident that it was the correct decision. 

I think most of us on the BOH committee worked so hard initially on the physical aspects of unwinding all the minute details of cancellation that it took a couple of weeks for the reality to set in that BOH was canceled and for the mourning and disappointment to be fully felt and realized. I am confident none of us realized at that time the impact that COVID-19 could have on our community and the world, and the lives that would be affected in mostly negative, but also a few positive ways. 

BOH was one of the first community events of the Spring that had to be cancelled, but one by one we have all watched a domino effect as all our favorite events have gone by the wayside. In addition, celebrations of birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, vacations, and even burying loved ones have and will continue to look different this year. We miss the fellowship of meeting with our church groups and even a simple trip to browse through one of our favorite stores or share a meal with friends.

It’s been interesting to watch the ingenuity of different organizations as they maneuver through the process of quarantine and reopening. I know for me, I have learned to more fully appreciate the simple things that I took for granted. I have watched in awe and with appreciation the risks that health professionals, government leaders and first responders have been willing to take for others. My faith has become stronger. I have learned that I am not in control. My love of family and friends has become more focused, and my already immense love of nature and the outdoors has deepened.

I think it has been hard to want to do something to help others who are suffering… to fix it… and not know what to do. You know we Southern girls like to make a casserole, and everything will be better. But there are big problems everywhere that I can’t fix. What I can do, is what I can do. I have learned to do like everyone else, and that is face each day as it comes. Go ahead and plant a garden. Volunteer where you feel safe. Check on family and loved ones. Just go ahead and carefully discover and live life in its new format.

I like what the Chamber of Commerce has on their website: 1 Fannin #StrongerTogether.”

I don’t know exactly what BOH will look like in 2021. I think it will look different as some safety and logistics procedures learned from the Coronavirus pandemic will most likely carry over and become a way of life for the near future. We have learned we can do what we have to do, and I am confident that together we will figure it out.

What I do know is that Feed Fannin volunteers are committed to our mission of feeding the hungry in our community through the partnership we have with Family Connection Food Pantry. Our community is incredible in the way they support our efforts. Our board of directors is creative and resourceful, and our committees are tireless in their pursuit, once given a challenge or plan of action. We will continue to wade through as we navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19, learning and doing what we need to do as we go along. 

Kathy Beck, Event Co-Chair