“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Knowing what to do
The New York Times ran a December article about what the executives of public companies said to their investors in public and recorded phone calls in 2020 as compared to 2019. The reporters and a research firm analyzed 20,000 corporate presentations over the two years. It was a fascinating exercise. The phrase “Unprecedented times,” was mentioned in 2,128 calls in 2020 vs. three in 2019. “Challenging” was used in 14,655 calls vs. 8,528; “Furlough” was used in 1,283 calls vs. 30 and “Work from home was mentioned in 4,845 calls vs. 18.
I read this article not long after I interviewed Eve Anthony, CEO of the Athens Community Council on Aging. I’ve been getting their e-newsletter all year, so I had a pretty good idea of the good work she, her staff, partners, and volunteers have been doing this year. But the details are staggering.
They had to turn on a dime in a few days in March from in-person support to distance support for thousands of area seniors, many frail, trapped in their houses. They knew they had to deal with food insecurity, isolation, and safety. They found a way using the Meals on Wheels model. Eve shared some of the details of this massive undertaking with me and what stood out was what she said to her staff the last time they were all in a room together: “I made a promise to them that ‘there will be no senior left behind and no paycheck will be lost. I had no idea how we were going to do that, but I felt we would do the things that we know best. We can make this happen.’”
That attitude is so inspiring, and based on their accomplishments, they epitomize what Emerson wrote in the mid-19th century. Although ACCA has taken a huge financial hit, I think they will come out of this stronger than before. If you want to support ACCA’s good and vital work, go to their website, read their annual report, and donate whatever you can.
P.S. The Spring issue will feature Pets and the Pandemic. We’d love to have a photo of you and your pet with a few sentences of description or thoughts. Upload your photo and comments under Become a Contributor. This is Pinky, my new foster cat, who came into my life recently through the UGA Foster Cat study (p. 16, print version of our Winter issue). They need a couple more volunteers!