Reaching Out While Staying In: Service During Quarantine

In March, our whole world changed: churches closed, businesses shut down, and everyone hunkered down in their homes to slow the spread of the corona virus. Unfortunately, the Junior League of Indianapolis made the difficult decision to cancel in-person service events. But that decision did not stop Junior League women from serving the Indianapolis community; it simply required the League to be more creative in doing so. Rather than going out to serve the community, League members have organized events that allow them to serve the community in the safety of their own homes.

In the spring, the League hosted its two virtual mask-making events. The event served the dual purpose of engaging members isolated by the quarantine order and creating cloth masks for donation. League member Ellen Fitzgerald organized the project, and about five to ten women attended each event. The events included a tutorial on how to make masks. League members were not required to have previous sewing experience or a sewing machine. The completed masks were then donated to the People for Urban Progress Indy Mask Project, which provides masks for first-responders, healthcare workers, and others in need. The League also donated $1000 to the project.

The League also hosted two virtual letter-writing events, organized by co-chair for the Patachou committee, Kimberly Bugg. The letter writing events were entitled “cocktails for a cause” and included instruction on how to make a basic cocktail, the woo-woo drink. While drinking their cocktails, League members drafted letters for Patachou’s LunchBox Letters campaign. The Patachou Foundation was a past recipient of a $50,000 Junior League grant and normally serves free meals at eight Indianapolis Public Schools and at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center. Because League members cannot serve meals in person during the pandemic, Patachou instead asked League members to write “lunchbox letters” to the children receiving the meals. The League drafted a total of 150 to 200 letters for the campaign.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, League women have found ways to reach out to each other and the community that surrounds them. Through virtual service, the League has prevented the corona virus outbreak from interfering with its mission, but we hope to be back out in the community serving soon.