Teachers who are caring for young children or elderly relatives or who have other responsibilities to balance while learning new platforms and teaching their students are stretched incredibly thin right now, but many teachers who have the time are finding ways to give back. Mansfield teacher Louis Goffinet is one of them.
The twenty-six-year-old Lebanon Middle School teacher has been shopping for elderly and sick community members as well as families who are struggling to put food on the table. On one recent day he made nine trips to the grocery store.
Goffinet, a science teacher, usually works a second job for the town parks and recreation department but stay-at-home measures have ended that position so he is using his extra time to help out his community. He started with offers to shop for neighbors who are unable to go to the grocery store, but his efforts are now community-wide.
“Last week, a family I know reached out to me, having seen my offer to grocery shop on our town Facebook group, and asked for me to do so for them,” Goffinet says. In talking to the family, he discovered both parents had been furloughed due to the crises and didn’t want to spend their meager unemployement payments on the fees associated with some of the grocery delivery services.
“I contemplated simply paying for this family’s groceries and calling it a day, but realized this would be an unsustainable approach when I inevitably found more people in need,” Goffinet adds. “So, I started a fundraiser on Facebook, and advertised it within community groups.”
In just 10 days, he has raised more than $11,000 for families in need. “It’s been incredible to show up with huge grocery deliveries for people who have nothing at all,” he says.
Some of the families Goffinet and his community supporters have been able to help include:
- A single mother of a five-month-old child who has lost her job due to the crisis.
- A young family of four with parents who are furloughed. (Goffinet says the two young children were excited to see fresh produce, meat, cereals, and snacks!)
- A couple living with one of each of their parents. One parent has dementia and the other cancer, while the married couple have both lost their jobs.