• Willow Staff

An Open Letter in the Newsletter


Sack lunches being prepared for at Ladybird Diner.

NOTE: This open letter was part of our April newsletter content, but contains reflections on the nature of nonprofit service and community. If you would like to see the whole newsletter, you can find it here.

An Open Newsletter by Will Averill Putting together this newsletter, during this pandemic, has been one of the most difficult tasks I've had here at The Willow. The last month has been overwhelming. Everything seems out of place and wrong. There is an avalanche of news out there and most of it brings with it anxiety and stress.


I would like to give you some good news. It's not about our organization specifically, but it is about our community. And it is about hope. And it is about people taking care of people.


I have watched, over the course of the last few weeks, the remarkable passion of our colleagues in the non-profit world, local government, and the private sector bring our community light in the darkness. The Willow has worked with multiple local organizations including shelters, health and wellness resources, the city, the county, and private landlords to find solutions to the huge problem of housing in communal living spaces, and we have managed to relocate survivors into homes and safe shelter. This would not have been possible without all of these groups coming together to protect our most vulnerable.


At the same time, Just Food organized a group of amazing volunteers to deliver food to those who cannot leave their homes. Local restaurants offer free lunches to the community and step in to assist the school district in providing lunch for students who aren’t in school. Headquarters continues to offer a sympathetic ear to those overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. Similar programs are being echoed in Franklin and Jefferson counties. Our community has come together in ways that are innovative, resourceful, and life-saving.


Individuals have stepped up as well, making these not-for-profit activities possible with their generosity. Your giving through this pandemic has been remarkable and made the level of service these organizations provide possible. Our nonprofits could not do what they do without this backing, both through donations of time and money.


I was born and raised in Lawrence. I left for a few years, but I came back. I came back because this is where my family is, this is the place that I call home. And I have never been as proud to call this community my home as I have been over these last few weeks. Thank you all for your kindness, your outpouring of donations, and your willingness, when things are difficult, to step in and help. Thank you all, Will Averill Director of Communications To read the whole newsletter, click here. If you would like to donate to COVID-19 relief at The Willow, click here.


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