The world has seen its fair share of disaster during 2020 so far, and I think most people would agree that humanity has faced hardship, heartbreak, and camaraderie of all different kinds throughout. However, the heartbreak seems to have far superseded the togetherness that should be felt during a time of hardship like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movements. Living in Napa, California, a somewhat more rural, sleepy town during COVID-19, I sometimes feel far removed from movements going on across the nation and feel safer than some from COVID-19. Sometimes it is so easy to forget the power that we have even when it seems like we may be minuscule in comparison to important people doing big things with lots of money. My $10 donation to organizations fighting for the equity of black individuals might seem unimportant or meaningless, but put together with every other “meaningless” donation from people just like me – well, that adds up.

I write this because I had the pleasure of helping one of my best friends in Napa do something fun and important, to help bring awareness to ongoing issues in this country and world, all from a community perspective. In California, we are blessed with incredible weather, and summers are known for producing some incredible gardens. Due to COVID-19, so many people were stuck at home, and naturally, gardens emerged where they never had existed before. I am no exception, as my mom and I curated three lovely beds and planted lots of produce – it is a great pastime and is extremely rewarding! My friend Toni caught the same bug, but she found a way to make it better. Months ago she planted a gorgeous lavender field in her backyard. It started to bloom and at the time seemed like it was one of the only joys for us at that moment. COVID-19 had taken hundreds of thousands of lives by this time, and protesters were being unlawfully threatened and arrested. 

She decided to take her joy and use it for good. Enter: Lavender for Charity. She felt similar to me in the sense that she wanted to give so much more to organizations looking to do good during this time but didn’t personally have the funds. Instead, she decided to sell beautiful bundles of lavender (known for their aromatic benefits) to people for a suggested donation of around $10. Little did she know that when people were presented with these bundles, they would donate much more than $10 – most people who bought bundles would donate upwards of $40-$40 per bundle! It was clear that people felt deeply her cause and were more than willing to support it. It’s amazing to see how well people respond when given an avenue to do good – it is unfair to assume that everyone on earth is driven to seek out these sorts of deeds, but if this example proves anything, people are predisposed to do good. In the end, Toni raised $760 from her lavender bundles and donated half of the money to World Central Kitchen and half to Fair Fight 2020. 

World Central Kitchen is a small NGO that dispatches volunteers to disaster areas, providing nutritious food to devastated communities. The Covid-19 pandemic saw WCK dispatched to the Navajo Nation, providing supplies and meals to a community disproportionately affected by this pandemic. They have committed to providing fresh food, rest areas, and accessible bathrooms on November 3rd to voting locations that are likely to see long lines.

Fair Fight 2020 is committed to “promoting fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.”

I’d like to think that I learned something from this experience: it is so easy to feel so small in this world right now and that there is little you can do about it. But with a little creativity, a team, and drive, there are so many ways that we can make a difference. While Toni’s lavender field has since run dry, below was her original poster, the artwork done by our incredibly talented friend Alondra.

About the Author:

Meet SarahSarah Ryan is a Senior at Georgetown University majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a concentration in Energy and Environment. She has a minor in Spanish and is also fluent. Sarah has a demonstrated interest and passion for the energy consulting sector, as well as other modern start-up ventures and lifestyle companies supported by experience in consumer marketing, content creation, and social media as it relates to growing engagement. She currently resides in Napa, California until she goes back to Georgetown in the Fall.