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COVID-19: Charleston Front Porch Project

What a crazy few weeks it has been! Never in our wildest dreams would we ever have believed a WORLDWIDE scenario like this could unfold and wreak such havoc on the lives, well-being and livelihoods of so many people.

Justin and I have been teleworking from home for a few weeks now and will be for awhile. As military members, we count ourselves as lucky because of the job security we’ve had during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen businesses, neighbors and friends severely impacted and done the best we can to support them in any way we can – whether that’s with our money or simply sharing a social media post. We’ve always been passionate about supporting small, local businesses and these last few weeks have shown just how important that really is to our communities.

Here are just a few of the small businesses in our community we recommend and support and hope you will consider doing the same during this time:

If you have any more Charleston small businesses that you love, please drop them in the comments!

The Front Porch Project

Since we’re strictly working from home, we’ve had a little more time on our hands than normal. April will be the first month this year that neither of us has had to leave for a week or weeks at a time for a work trip. That in and of itself has been a small blessing, especially for our doggos, who have struggled this year with being in and out of the boarding facility.

With that extra time, we decided to come up with a project that would stretch our photography skills but still allow for safe social distancing, and the idea for the Front Porch Project was born. Little did we know, we were in good company and photographers all over had begun similar projects. Creatives are just the best.We set out around our neighborhood and photographed 11 different families from their front porch – families of all sizes and ages (fur babies included).

We met incredible people, whose houses we had walked past every week on our walks through the neighborhood with our dogs. People we may have never actually stopped to have a conversation with if not for this project.

We asked them how they’re doing and how they’ve been affected and for one good thing that’s come from this ordeal. If you watch the news even for a day, it’s too easy to focus on what’s scary and what’s negative, so we wanted to flip that focus to something positive.

The general consensus was that from this difficult time, the'y’ve realized just how important family is, as well as how important it is to take time from our busy routines to just stop and really see each other.

So without further ado, meet our awesome neighbors!

The Grants

“I do think we are making more of an effort to take quality time with the kids. Like today, we had a water gun fight in the backyard. They’re [the kids] not playing with neighbor kids, so we are entertaining them – lots of campouts in the living room. It also makes you think about the things that we actually need to do and the things that we have an expectation to do that aren’t necessary.” – Kayla

“It’s definitely centering the family a lot more. Like even taking it away from their friends and our friends. In a lot of ways, we’re remodeling our family relationship. It’s pretty crazy.” – Christian

The Anders

“I think it’s just forced us to settle down a lot – slow down – and take a little bit more time with our friends and family and with our church family to reconnect with others a lot more. From that standpoint, it’s been really good. I hate even using that term – good. It feels weird, but it’s helped us to slow down, reconnect and enjoy being outside.” – Kemia & John

The Whites

“I’m thankful this happened after I had the baby, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to have my family there or get the supplies that I needed. Right now I’m just thankful that I’m able to be home with my kids. It has taken a little bit of time away from being able to completely relax, and it’s definitely made me more aware, and even a little more paranoid, of taking anyone out to the doctor’s office or to the store to get stuff. It’s just different; it made life different.” – Stephanie

“For us, we were going to be home with the baby anyway, but we’re both – I’m a police officer, she’s a nurse – so even though we’re at home, work still doesn’t let up for us. We’re still having to deal with this, where we wouldn’t have had to before. Now it’s kind of taken a little bit of time away from what we initially planned for being at home.” – Chris

The Thompsons

“Having stuff go virtual has been tough, and I think will make us appreciate not just school and teachers but things like dance and dance teachers. The boys were supposed to have a good baseball season, and they’re missing that, but I think we’ve enjoyed the slower pace of life.

“We’ve enjoyed going to church together and having worship in the living room. We’ve been having lots of family game nights because we spend time on technology so much during the day with school and everything, that at night, we’ve tried to have more family time.

“It’s been encouraging that our family is kind of stable and the kids aren’t scared and freaked out, that they’re understanding and learning how to go with the flow.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of whining and complaining about that. We’ve kind of learned the value of just being flexible with plans. We all like to plan ahead and now all of that has come to a screeching halt. We’re learning a lot of what it means to just be patient with things. Overall it’s been good. It’s been a bit exhausting with three different kids in three different grade levels, but their teachers have been awesome in providing stuff too. We’re doing alright, but we miss people.” – Diana

The Fioritos

“We have honestly never spent this much time together. For one, it brought Jeff home. We would never have 30 days together [due to work]. There’s nothing extra. It really is just us. I don’t mind being locked down in our beautiful neighborhood. There’s nothing to complain about. We have a beautiful home; we have a beautiful neighborhood.” – Beth

“We’re getting to know a lot more of our neighbors – from a distance. People that you don’t see, because they’re tired of being inside, so they come outside and you stop and talk to them because you’re not in a real big hurry to get back to the house. We’re meeting a lot of our neighbors; I think it’s great.” – Jeff

The Pairs

“I’m not a teacher. I’ve never been a teacher. I’ve never wanted to be a teacher, but it is pretty cool to be able to see our son do his learning from home, and you know, just seeing how that’s evolving and how we’re kind of figuring things out together. We’re growing; we’re getting there. It has been challenging, but it’s neat to watch the progression. We get so busy with and hectic in our days that I don’t ever go back and see, ‘Oh wow you are learning at school and look at you reading at this second and third grade level,’ and so it’s just neat to see that first-hand.” – Andrea

The Mariottis

“A positive for me is I own a gym, and it’s very busy there, so it’s given me two weeks to be at home with the girls, which is actually awesome. It’s been really nice out, so we’ve gotten outside and spent a lot of time together and worked on a lot of projects, just stuff together that I normally don’t get to see.” – Dominic

“We love having him home, and the girls love having him home. He’s a gym owner, so he sometimes leaves before they wake up and gets home after they go to bed, so it’s been really nice having him home. Of course with that, being a small business owner it’s definitely been a little stressful during this time because we’re both small business owners, but you know, we’re just trying to make the best of it.” – Jeannine

The Baughmans

“One thing that I’ve learned from this is what really matters, so I think family is what really matters, and we’ve been able to spend more time together and learn about one another. Personally, it’s affecting me too because I’m a travel agent by trade, so I’ve seen lots of people have to cancel trips that they’ve planned for, but I think that the value that travel agents bring has really ramped up. People’s perception of us has changed in that regard, so that’s been a positive out of it too.” – Kendra

“I think one of the best things that’s come out of it is it takes a lot of the distractions off the table, and we get to focus on things that are really important to the family. Every day is a new challenge just keeping everybody happy and entertained and healthy.” – Josh

The Catheys

“Oh for sure it’s affected us. I know kind of every facet of our life has stopped. The kids don’t go to school, we don’t go to work. The positive is that we’ve spent an enormous amount of time together, and we love being together so it hasn’t been that hard. Probably the biggest negative is we do have a special needs child and all of her services have quit, which has made this kind of touch and go at times. We’re a strong family, and we stick together. We’ve been getting through it.” – Amber

The Spains

“With the news media, obviously, there’s a lot of information being fed to us on a constant basis, and I think we’re trying to kind of cut ourselves off a little bit from that and do stuff outside with the dog and what not. I’m still working at Boeing. I’m still immersed with a bunch of people, so it is a bit stressful. I have some other personal stuff going on outside of this. I have a sister who has terminal cancer, who I cannot go see because I could have possibly been in contact with someone, so it’s a bit stressful right now. It’s a tough time but we’ll get through it. I feel bad for the people that can’t work. I’m lucky to be working still.” – Mike

(As of this posting, Mike is no longer going in to work at Boeing due to the governor’s stay at home order.)

The Condons

“The girls are in school, and I teach school, so I’m doing it here. Billy is still at work and they had to lay off a bunch of people and he took a pay cut. We’re thankful he still has a job. Teaching has been crazy though, it’s not anything we prepared for. I definitely think teachers have really stepped up and tried to do whatever we can do.” – Nancy

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