Social Distancing & Special Deliveries
Hey there. It's me, Janet Bernstein, the founder and president of The Every Heart Project.
Here in the Dallas area, we've been in a form of 'shelter in place' recommendation for about 4 weeks. As a leader who plans close to 30 events per year, having to follow the new 'social distancing' guidelines basically means no gatherings for our group for a while. None of us really know how long this will last.
Most of our members know I'm an off-the-charts-extrovert. I LOVE hosting events and gathering women from all walks of life. I'm completely at home on the stage, and creating community is what drives my purpose daily.
So this whole 'avoid people' thing is really not my jam.
In fact, it downright sucks.
My entire mission is built upon encouraging women to show up and support each other. And now we are being most supportive by staying home, binging Netflix, and eating all the carbs. (Is now a good time to mention I'm also keto?)
So one of the few things I now get to enjoy as part of my day is a 'drive to nowhere.' This is a really exciting hour or so of my day where we get in the car and simply drive. On the nicer weather days, we roll down the windows and open my sunroof and soak it all up.
One day on one of our rides, I noticed a sign for the town of 'Celina' - and a lightbulb went off. "I have Heart Sisters who live in this area!" I told my husband. Then I thought about driving to their houses and yelling HEELLLLOOOOO from my car window. No. Too much. I could deliver a gift! Yeah, that's better. Plus, gas was at a record low of $1. 20 per gallon, so now was the perfect time to drive!
So I came home and started working on my top-secret project to create a handwritten note and gift for each of my 60 members. I had some gorgeous notecards in my home office that I knew would be just perfect, and I ordered these awesome little silver charms that were all different sayings and symbols, and I had just enough for each Sister.
Then came the hard part. We had women in more than 15 different cities across the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex! I could drive to them all, but I certainly couldn't do it all in one day. So I purchased a subscription to a delivery route software, downloaded the addresses, and created a plan to hit all of the houses over 3 different days. The route below is just the 6 houses on the Fort Worth side of the metroplex. This whole route took us about 4 hours.
For our busiest day, we had 40 houses on the route, which took us a little less than 9 hours to complete. Some of the Heart Sisters were home, so if they came out to chat it took a bit longer. Otherwise, I simply dropped the envelope on the porch, rang the bell and ran. If they had a Ring doorbell, obviously I danced for the video before running back to my car. (Duh.) I'm still expecting some of those videos to be posted by the confused husbands. ;-)
Overall, our journey was 54 homes spread over 3 different days, with about 16 hours of driving, and just over 500 miles. Shockingly, only about $20 in gasoline costs!
I absolutely loved doing this project! I loved how surprised so many of the Sisters seemed, and I even made one cry happy tears. I sent virtual hugs and blew air kisses a few times, and one even took a selfie with me in the background (standing 6+ feet away, of course.) She lives over an hour away from me, and was in absolute shock when she opened her door to see me standing there. This same sister happened to be in the middle of making veggie burgers for lunch, so she wrapped one up in foil to send home with me for my daughter who is a vegetarian. I wasn't able to deliver goodies to all of my Sisters, though; I have one in Austin, which is several hours away. I also have a Sister in California, and several with PO Boxes, and one house was gates and we couldn't get in... so we mailed hers the next day.
I learned some lessons along the way. First of all, I have mad respect for delivery drivers. Being in a car for 9 hours, driving all over to jump out and drop off stuff is exhausting. Also, when you get that notification from Amazon that your package is 8 stops away... that's AT LEAST an hour. I also learned that even being 6 feet away from someone you care about can help. Seeing them, hearing them. It all matters. We NEED social interaction. Our hearts are connected. At one of the homes, I captured a pic of this sign that reads 'Home is Where the Heart Is.' It reminds me that we all have this amazing connection, even if we aren't physically together. Home is knowing we all have a safe place to gather - even if it's just online right now.
Until we get to gather again in person, Sisters, stay safe.
P.S. - if you are not a member of Every Heart, NOW is a great time to join us! We are doing a free, 30-day trial membership! Click here for details. You will love us.