Ohio AmeriCorps members continue to adapt the way they serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the service may look different, they are still making an incredible impact on those they serve. Learn more about Madison Donahue and Ashley Grace, both AmeriCorps members with Rural Action’s Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps program. Madison and Ashley’s service demonstrates that even in the most extraordinary circumstances, AmeriCorps members continue to get things done. In the words of Ashley, “ yes, times are tough, and things aren’t the way we wish they could be, but there’s still something we can do.” Madison Donohue- Serving with Rural Action's Environmental Education team As a second term AmeriCorps Member, Madison Donohue has been constantly adapting ever since COVID-19 came around. Pre-COVID she was going into classrooms and afterschool programs to teach lessons on environmental education. This year, she is teaching lessons virtually, leading virtual "field trips", and conducting outdoor lessons to small groups and individuals. It has allowed her to "stay connected with the most vulnerable families in the community by providing educational programs about the outdoors in a safe and socially distant way". Last month, she was able to engage with a student right in his driveway and taught him about paw paws. She even brought some for him to try and share with his family. After the program he ran to his yard and planted the seeds of the fruit in hopes to grow his own tree! She has shared that she has been enjoying this new way of service even if it isn't exactly what she expected. Ashley Grace- Serving as Rural Action’s Nelsonville Community Engagement member Before COVID, Thursday Night Community Dinner meant gathering around long tables or BBQ grills to cook and eat together. Now, during the pandemic that’s no longer possible. However, the community dinner spirit has carried on. Each week local volunteers show up to prepare dinner for 325 friends and neighbors. As the Nelsonville Community Engagement AmeriCorps member, it's Ashley’s “honor and privilege to work with this fantastic group of people!" They cook, package, and deliver food right to people’s doors so folks don't have to worry about contact. No-contact procedures means they can’t do much more than wave from our cars, but even if they aren’t physically eating together, they are still sharing a meal. Ashley thinks there is something special about that spirit of togetherness, the unifying power of a shared meal. According to Ashley, “It makes me think of Stone Soup, the folktale many of us heard as kids. In the story, a group of hungry travelers convince a town to share what little they have to make a meal. They start with only rocks and water but by contributing what they each can, (a carrot, some salt, a few potatoes) they eventually make a delicious soup that feeds everyone. It reminds me that yes, times are tough, and things aren’t the way we wish they could be, but there’s still something we can do.” Learn more about Ohio’s AmeriCorps programs here.