April 30, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.”
– Anne Frank

I’d like to tell you a story that illustrates Anne Frank’s uplifting and positive message. Read it through to the end and you’ll have your dose of optimism for today. Promise.

Once upon a time . . . er, Monday at the Hope staff meeting we discussed our needs for Personal Protective Equipment—masks, gloves, disinfectant, etc. If we’re going to open up, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got more than enough of these items to meet any conceivable need. Ashley Papatola, our newest volunteer, said she had a friend who made masks, and volunteered to oversee a campaign to make sure we have enough masks through putting together teams of Hope volunteer sewers. She offered to host a Zoom meeting Tuesday morning for staff and any other interested volunteers.

Step One in People are Really Good at Heart.

Renee Brooks, another volunteer and friend of Hope, joined the Tuesday morning meeting, along with Ashley and four staff members. We kicked around numbers of masks we would need, considering foot traffic of members, numbers of masks that would be returned for washing at the end of a visit, etc. The number 1,000 was thrown out, and the initial response was that might be way too high. Over time, though, that became the goal. Dave Cote mentioned his wife, Terry, had lots of cloth left over from quilting and offered to donate it. Renee and Ashley agreed to talk after the meeting and to work on determining a work flow for mask making.

Step Two in People are Really Good at Heart.

After their conversation, Renee reached out to mask makers for advice on design and production. The conversation with Amy Ouellete from Seacoast Mask Makers led to an offer of 1,000 masks, no questions asked. Amy was pleased with the cloth donation and the two of them made arrangements.

Step Three in People are Really Good at Heart.

Wednesday, Bob Mortimer, a Hope staff member, picked up the cloth from Dave, drove to the seacoast and returned with 1,000 beautiful and effective masks. Ashley has since spoken with Emily from Bedford Battalion Sewing, and they are going to make a large mask donation as well.

Step Four in People are Really Good at Heart.

These masks are all efficient and absolutely appropriate for the vast majority of our membership, but some folks with known underlying conditions need more protection. Ashley has reached out to her friends, Nicole Ward and Karin Turner, and they’ve already donated these stronger masks.

Think of it. In two days, the need for masks went from being a hazy pipedream to the reality of the gift of safety, or even life.The intervening steps? One person after another demonstrating Anne Frank’s truth:

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.”

People are good. God is good. The universe is good.

And

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Best,

Keith