By Jan Larraine Cox
This COVID-19 experience we are sheltering through can have a calming effect on us, but only if we let it. There are many new ways we can appreciate each other from a safe distance while learning more about ourselves through this unexpected circumstance.
I learned one of my retired neighbors, Terry Finestein, 54, moved to Clearwater from Los Angeles in 2017. He lives with his nonagenarian mom Shirley, 92, helping her as she needs assistance with household tasks, while encouraging her to stay as active and independent as possible.
In addition, Terry is normally a dedicated volunteer caseworker at two vital charities in St. Petersburg: Daystar Life Center and CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse). DayStar dovetails with Feeding Tampa Bay, providing produce to local food pantries by collecting groceries and expired food that the pantries can then distribute to those in need. There are many needs right now. Donate or volunteer at www.feedingtampabay.org or www.Daystarlife.com.
Terry also volunteers at CASA which serves both men and women of all ages and ethnicities who are victims of abuse. Their current 24/7 domestic violence hotline is 727-895-4912; their motto is “stand up to silence”.
During the pandemic, the conditions for abuse are unfortunately exacerbated.
Many don’t know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence. At the same time, too many children are exposed to this violence, mainly as eyewitnesses.
This organization normally challenges violence through emergency shelter, youth programming, economic empowerment programs, justice advocacy, intervention and support groups. To volunteer or donate contact www.casa-stpete.org
While we are safely sheltering in place in our homes, many have picked up the crafts they had placed on a shelf in the closet. Time now to finish these projects or start a new one!
My own mother, Mary, was a prolific quilter, re-using cotton from such various sources as remnants, old jeans, flowered shirts, sheets and pillow cases with little patterns or solids. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of such resources in your own home right now that you could put to work in a quilt project! Mom started out in high school as an avid art student who progressed to become a resourceful homemaker. She also braided rugs out of wool coats she scored in Ohio thrift shops, stenciled early American patterns on serving trays and made matching clothes for us kids and all our dolls!
“Complete Home Crafts” and “Crafting: The 300 Best Crafts of All Time” are books you can order online. They will point you toward projects to work on with your family, who will be inspired into creativity this spring. Fabric covered journals, glitter decorated jars, easy bandana bracelets and decoupage will get you all launched on lifelong home decorating!
More contemplative during the lockdown, I relate with new appreciation to our local ducks and roseate spoonbills in my daily walk. I love to share my photography on Facebook while following their jaunts around the property.