In each month since the pandemic, writing this letter has been a challenge. While our team has not encountered a shortage of stories to highlight, the challenge lies in focusing on the positive while so many are still struggling. But we press on.
Of course, it’s easy to draw attention to things that are different from this time last year. Thanksgiving will, no doubt, be celebrated – but it won’t be the same for many. Large family gatherings will be canceled; maybe there will be an empty chair at your dinner table due to the health crisis. A “virtual” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV…? Here’s looking ahead to next year’s holidays.
Most of us are aware that homelessness is real in Greater Flint; perhaps you’ve reached out and donated to an area shelter. We learned of a Fenton-based non-profit that distributes backpacks filled with essentials – Homeless Survival Kits – around a thousand of them each month. Amazing! Check out Snuggle Sacks on p.18. We also highlight area organizations and businesses helping those in need this Thanksgiving (p.24). I’m feeling blessed and looking for a place to volunteer.
Many Flint businesses have survived various crises over the years; one such mainstay is the Golden Leaf Club. This popular jazz haunt for enthusiasts and musicians has stood the test of time: 100 years and counting! They hope to have an official celebration soon – see the story on p.10. Also standing strong are the Flint Firebirds. We glance back at their great 2020 season – cut short by the pandemic – and get input from the team about coming back strong in 2021. And as the holidays approach, we offer another collection of gift ideas: Michigan-made items and a section featuring local businesses where you can shop small and help your communities.
We recognize Veterans Day with our cover photo of the memorial installment at McFarlan Park (the city’s oldest park). It features columns inscribed with the names of “heroes of all wars’’ from Genesee County who sacrificed their lives for America’s freedom. The Friends of McFarlan Park, a 501(c)3 Public Charity, are dedicated to keeping the memorial a place that enhances the city; consider supporting them (friendsofmcfarlanveteransmemorialpark.com.) Be sure to read the piece about Tom Pabst, a local attorney who found “a silver lining in a dark cloud” while serving in Vietnam.
While the meaning of the word “thankful” may have changed for some this year, I hope you are all able to be with loved ones and give thanks.
Thank you for reading.