JFS Perspectives

Monday, May 11, 2020

Local Teacher Delivers Lesson in Kindness

Local Teacher Delivers Lesson in Kindness

Ann Deyarmond, who works with kids on the autism spectrum at Joe Shoemaker Elementary, is helping students meet one of their most basic needs while the school is closed. She comes to the Weinberg Food Pantry up to three times a week and delivers food to six families, which she plans to continue through the summer.

Ann knew that many families at Joe Shoemaker depended on the school for childcare and two meals a day. After the school closed due to COVID-19, the staff discovered that more families than they realized didn’t have transportation to get to a food pantry or Denver Public Schools’ lunch sites. Ann and several other teachers volunteered to pick up food for 14 families and deliver them to their homes each week.

“Everyone is doing the best they can in this situation,” Ann says. “We all have something to give, such as time, money, or expertise. Now is the time to come together. I’m at a place in my life that I can take the time to wait in a pantry line and deliver the food.” She explains that her children are grown and she works with a small number of children with Individualized Education Plans, rather than being a general education teacher to a full class.

JFS has a KidSuccess school-based therapist at Joe Shoemaker, so Ann was aware of the organization. She learned about our food pantry and other services when the pandemic hit. “Seeing how JFS has reached out to serve the community at large is so heartwarming,” Ann says with a smile. “I am always struck by how efficient the food pantry system is as hundreds of cars move through the line. The volunteers and staff are so patient and always smiling. JFS as an organization is doing amazing things, and I love seeing all the individuals working on the front line. It has been such a positive experience during a time filled with negative news.”

Ann doesn’t want this story to be about her, though. She sees this as a chance to shine a light on JFS. She concludes, “I encourage others to help JFS in any way they can. If you received an economic stimulus check and are still employed, pay it forward and consider donating some of it to JFS. Or volunteer your time, donate supplies to the food pantry, or whatever is meaningful to you.”