Some welcome changes came in 2020

Less time at work meant more time with family

December 28, 2020

by Devan Gagliardo

Program Director


I recently read on January 1, 2021, for the first time ever hindsight will actually be 20/20. With countless family gatherings, birthday parties, holidays, work events, weddings, and fundraisers cancelled it really was a year of disappointment to many. Most of us feel a great relief knowing a year such as this will soon be behind us.

But as the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20 and while I do not want to downplay the seriousness of business shutdowns, global health issues, or individual struggles that come with isolation, I do think many of us can reflect on the year and say there were some welcomed changes to our often chaotic way of life.

Life in general has been slower paced this year…less work functions…less social functions which has allowed most of us to focus on and spend time with our family or a close circle of friends. Neighbors checked in on neighbors and actually knew if someone was under the weather. When someone fell ill others jumped in to provide meals and cards to lift the spirits of those stuck in quarantine. People talked on the phone!

In a blink of an eye life became simple again! 2020 allowed families to eat dinner together at home. While I can’t speak for other families, I know my family went outside to enjoy nature and the fresh air every chance we got! And some cities and countries reported a decrease in air pollution due to less travel.

Community organizations joined forces to ensure families in need had their basic needs met. Increases in the need for assistance with rent and utility bills was met, increases in the need for food was met, support groups and counseling services were moved to virtual to ensure those who needed support for their mental health were taken care of. Our grant making at the Community Foundation of Grundy County was largely in response to the pandemic. Because of the nature of a pandemic, we were able to treat this event as a disaster. Therefore, the Foundation was able to join forces with the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce to support our local small businesses, something we often cannot do. In addition, the Chamber work with businesses large and small to make sure they were aware of the numerous opportunities for support from both the private and public sectors. And as a community, there was a huge push to support local when possible.

Our society that typically highlights actors and sports figures, but when stadiums were shut down and movie productions was halted our mindset changed. Society began to see the true heroes of 2020, were our very own family members and neighbors who double as first responders, healthcare workers, and teachers.

Almost weekly for the last couple months I have seen a Facebook post from first responders, schools, doctors’ offices, and hospitals thanking a business or family for sending them lunch or gifts. I am so very proud to be part of a community that has rallied around one another to provide support to our local heroes while also supporting local businesses.

I received a Christmas card today with a quote from Desmond Tuto, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” This card came at the very best moment the realization that our Christmas traditions, just like Thanksgiving, would not happen this year set in. It is my sincerest hope that this Christmas season is a light in the darkness of 2020 and that 2021 unveils new opportunities and possibilities!