These words have become a familiar refrain: stay home, stay safe and socially distance. But while most of us were hunkered down during the first few months of the pandemic, these parents (and kids)  knew if they socially distanced themselves from those in need countless others would struggle to survive. These amazing individuals decided to do what they could to stay safe while also reaching out their hand (figuratively) to those that needed help. Here are some of those parents – and one kid – who have made a difference in the DC metro area.

photo: courtesy of Peggy Morgan Tyree

Peggy Morgan Tyree with PPE Donations

Peggy has always operated under the principle that if there is something she can do to help out, she should do it. So when Covid-19 hit and everyone was feeling helpless, she jumped at the chance to make a difference. In her role as a Loudoun County Elementary Instructional Facilitator, she had been teaching about 3D printers and authentic uses for them, such as restoring coral reefs and preserving artifacts. She immediately saw another use for the printers and with the full support and permission of her school’s principal, she took the 3D printers home and got to work making PPE. Peggy and three other moms, all while working and raising their children (some young, some teens), ran the printers nonstop since March., creating 7,000 shields from home. Their husbands and children assisted with assembly after the shields were printed. They sent them to local facilities like hospitals, dental offices, preschools, group homes and fire stations. But they also shipped them to other states and even to a hospital in Mexico.

How you can help: You can donate to Peggy’s efforts below or try your own hand at 3D printing at your local library.

Online: gofundme.com

photo: Courtesy of Colby Samide

Colby Samide of Desks for Distance

This teen isn’t a parent, but his parents made a difference by raising a kid who put his woodworking skills to generous use with his project, Desks for Distance. Colby was inspired by the Desks by Dads initiative, a couple of dads building desks for students in their community in MD, to do the same for students closer to his home. Colby launched his Desks for Distance Facebook page in early Sept. as a solo project and quickly caught the attention of both donors and collaborators. With the help of MOSS Building & Design, Colby and Desks for Distance plan on building 50 additional desks in a single day on September 28th!

How you can help: You can donate via the Facebook link below to help Desks for Distance raise additional funds for materials. While Colby does  not take any profit from this project, he wanted us to inform readers he is not an officially registered nonprofit.

Online: facebook.com/DesksforDistance

photo: courtesy of Jamila Larson 

Jamila Larson of Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

After 17 years of offering in-person services, Jamila Larson had to quickly pivot to providing contactless services that would still help children and their families feel as if someone cared about them in the middle of a pandemic. The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project now offers Playtime to Go kits to kids living in shelters, as well as play costumes, diapers, groceries, and other emergency supplies homeless families may need.

How you can help: Jamila and her staff are working remotely during the crisis, but if you want to get involved, you can make a donation that will help them continue to provide the above mentioned items to kids and families in need.

Online: playtimeproject.org

photo: courtesy of Rachel Bailey

Rachel Bailey of Rachel Bailey Parenting Academy

Feeling the weight of parenting during a pandemic? Rachel Bailey is there to help! Parent coach Rachel Bailey has been providing private coaching and online parenting tips in the DC area for over a decade. Her Facebook group, “The Parenting Long Game” Podcast community, is free to join and offers support and advice to DMV parents. She’s coined the term “Yuck” for all those times your child may display signs of being uncomfortable—from feeling hangry to throwing tantrums—and doles out ways to peacefully parent your child and restore order in your home. Now, more than ever, kids (and their parents) are feeling a nasty case of the yucks from technology hiccups to virtual classroom frustrations on top of the all-consuming pandemic yucks. Rachel (virtually) holds parents hands and helps them navigate everything from distance learning to post-pandemic parenting stresses.

How can you help: We’re all struggling with Yuck these days. Take a deep breath and check out Rachel’s podcasts for distance learning tips and healthy ways to deal with pandemic-related stresses.

Online: facebook.com/groups/RachelBailey

photo: Sam’s Club via Yelp

Corrine Cannon of Greater DC Diaper Bank

Though she created Greater DC Diaper Bank nearly a decade ago, the need for Corrine’s services has tripled during the pandemic. She opened the bank when she realized that diapers were falling through a crack in the systems designed to help low-income families and children survive. While there were options that provided food, formula, and medical care, none ensured that parents could buy diapers. So Corrine stepped up and filled that gap. The Greater DC Diaper Bank offers more than just diapers these days, though. They also offer other baby needs, including certain types of gently used baby gear, as well as feminine hygiene products.

How you can help: While volunteer operations have been suspended during the pandemic, you can still get involved. With more than 140 drop locations throughout the greater DC area, you can easily drop off diapers, formula, or any of the other items they accept for distribution.

Online: greaterdcdiaperbank.org

—Wendy Miller

featured photo: courtesy of Desks for Distance

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