Memphis kindness blog, March 26: Kids are encouraged, folks get food baskets and popcorn

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 30, 2020 10:36 AM CT | Published: March 26, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Editor’s note: As we navigate through this difficult time of dealing with the coronavirus, it is important to capture those instances where Memphians are coming together for each other. Those acts of kindness, generous moments and just feel-good instances happening all around us. Our reporters will be out looking for these. We also want to hear from you. If you have a nomination for our Memphis Kindness blog, email us at Thank you for reading.  — Ronnie Ramos, executive editorus

March 26, 2020

Donors help Salvation Army and local restaurants feed the needy

5:35 PM CT, March 26

The Salvation Army of Memphis & the Mid-South is partnering with local restaurants to feed the community’s most vulnerable and there are ways you can help.

The Salvation Army’s FedEx Disaster Response Unit has served 250 people each day. Now, with the help of a group of anonymous donors, the agency can channel funds to several local restaurants, which will prepare and provide boxed meals for the daily distribution.

These donations relieve the Salvation Army of a significant financial burden, while providing revenues for the participating restaurants. So far, those restaurants include: Garibaldi’s, Huey’s, Paradise Cafe, Hog Wild, Lenny’s, Pimento’s Kitchen and the Spell Restaurant Group.

Local restaurant owners interested in taking part should contact Eric Monroe at

Or financial gifts to the Salvation Army can be made online.


Memphians emerge for taste of Spring

7:19 PM CT, March 26

After weeks of pandemic fear and cold, rainy weather have conspired to keep Memphis residents indoors, a break in the clouds brought out friends and families - at a safe distance - to enjoy a budding spring day at Shelby Farms.


Little kids know grownups need encouragement too

4:04 PM CT, March 26

Young children obviously don’t understand the ramifications of a deadly world pandemic.

But they do understand hard work and how wonderful it is to be encouraged.

So, the kids on Overland Place in East Memphis are leaving messages on their sidewalks.

Sanitation workers got a personal shout-out, along with others who must continue to work regardless of the order from city and county government officials to stay home.

People out for a stroll are uplifted as well as they get virtual hugs, smiles and told of a “beautiful tree ahead.”

It was all 7-year-old Elliana Mohundro’s idea.

Her mother, Summer Mohundro, said they were on social media and saw a Girl Scout troop engaged in acts of kindness.

Elliana wanted to do something as well.

“We used imagination and we made art,” said an excited Elliana in a telephone interview.

Elliana is in second grade at Holy Rosary Catholic School.

“They teach them so much about caring,” Summer Mohundro said.

Neighbors Lena Koelsch, 6, Lewis Koelsch, 3, and Naomi Burton were invited to join in, while the adults have helped with spelling.

“I thought it was really cute,” said Emily Koelsch, Lena and Lewis’ mom.

Koelsch is a freelance writer and has watched from her window as people stop, read the messages and smile.


Popcorn! Popcorn! Get your popcorn!

2:38 PM CT, March 26

Many of those staying at home during the Safer at Home phase of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic are catching up on movies.

But, it’s not a good movie night without popcorn.

So, Malco Theatres is making its movie popcorn available to those movie-goers who aren’t going anywhere.

Malco is offering 5-pound bags of popcorn for pickup from its Downtown Powerhouse location or delivery to your home by GrubHub for an extra charge.


Winslow, Perry distribute 14-day food boxes for those associated with MAM

1:56 PM CT, March 26

Justise Winslow, who hasn’t played a game for the Memphis Grizziles, is working with former NBA star Elliot Perry to help with food distribution through the Mid-South Food Bank.

The 14-day food boxes are destined for families of kids served by Memphis Athletic Ministries and are available on Friday, March 27, at MAM’s Grizzlies Center at 2107 Ball Road.

Perry will distribute the food boxes while Winslow and his mother, Robin Davis, who were part of the support for the program were invited.

The drive-up distribution runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Crosswind Elementary students engaged despite school closure

1:50 PM CT, March 26

Collierville students have not started back to school quite yet.

Suburban school districts were on Spring Break last week. This week the school is using its inclement weather days – also known as built-in snow days – to allow teachers time to plan distance learning.

But some elementary teachers wanted to make sure their students still felt treasured in unique ways.

Principal Andre Crafford of Crosswind Elementary said she was supposed to return to school Monday for Spirit Week. As school is closed students are still virtually showing their Crosswind Eagle spirit.

Monday was pajama day, and students were encouraged to read a book. Tuesday was super hero day, but Crafford said rather than celebrating fictional heroes with capes, they celebrated those who are on the front-lines as the nation faces COVID-19. The school highlighted health care workers, first responders, grocery store employees, sanitation and food service. Wednesday was about working out and exercising. Thursday was Thankful Thursday, and Friday is Spirit Day.

As the school is going through deep cleaning, a sign hangs in the Crosswind windows that says “We miss you.”

“Even though we are separated by distance we are part of a bigger family,” Crafford said.

She announces birthdays each day over the intercom during morning announcements. 

“For them, their birthdays are a big deal,” she said.

So, she is sending birthday emails to parents for the students.

She said teachers are using the online education tools to personally encourage and engage their students.

“Our whole world is working with those kids,” she said. “As hard as it is for our families, it’s hard for our teachers as well … This is unprecedented and we want to let parents know we love and miss their kids.”


Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund awards first funds

12:18 PM CT, March 26

Friday March 20, $150,000 of funds were released throughout the city as part of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

MIFA, Mid-South Food Bank and Whole Child Strategies – all of which are helping those in need with food, resources and supplies – each received $50,000 in unrestricted grants.

The Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund helps provide funding to nonprofits in Memphis. It is managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, in partnership with the City of Memphis, Shelby County government, United Way of the Mid-South, Momentum Nonprofit Partners and Mid-South Philanthropy Network.

Based on the amounts received, other non-profits will receive funds weekly. So far, $330,000 have been received.


A birthday parade to remember

10:27 AM CT, March 26


March 25, 2020

Delivering music to fans at home

8:04 PM CT, March 25

Following the cancellation of their upcoming events, Opera Memphis posted to social media, offering to sing for fans right on their lawns. The response was “Yes, please!” 

So they started singing on lawns and street corners to great applause and gratitude. And they’re not the only ones delivering music to people who are staying home.

Go here for the full story.


Today’s hero?

12:23 PM CT, March 25

Amy Ryder, a grocery store manager in Olive Branch — she didn’t think she was authorized to give the name of the grocery — says most customers have been really nice during the crisis.

But that’s not what makes her a hero. As a grocery store manager, you’d think Ryder would have access to all the good stuff, right? Including toilet paper?

Well, no. Or, at least, she chooses not to use that access, so there is more for the customers. Even though she has three teenage boys at home and she ran out of toilet paper not long ago.

“They were using paper napkins for three days before they begged me to find some because, in their words, `These are pretty rough,’” Ryder said. “I finally found a roll in my camping tote in the garage later that night.”

So here’s to you, Amy Ryder, for demonstrating that sacrifice comes in all forms.



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