Joe and Kaylin Heldt were into day two of their COVID quarantine when a blessing showed up on the front porch.
It was a laundry basket filled with games, crafts, a racetrack with cars, and other toys to help keep their 3-year-old twins and 1-year-old occupied while they recovered.
“It was wonderful to have toys for the kids that were different than theirs,” Joe Heldt said. “They were happy and busy while we were sick and loved everything! It was like a change of scenery for them while we were stuck at home.”
Triad Baptist Church members Mallory and Stephen Mast created and dropped off the gift Sept. 23 for the Heldts, also Triad Baptist members, and picked it back up for sanitizing and reuse once the Heldts’ quarantine ended.
“We’ve been blown away how much church members step up and do things like this to help each other when there’s a need,” Kaylin Heldt said. “It’s comforting and reminds us how special our church family is.”
The “Quarantine Blessing Busy Baskets,” as the Masts call them, are one way they’re trying to lift others amid the pandemic’s pressures as a family — particularly for those trying to work at home, get well, and simultaneously care for their children.
It’s an act of service that counters COVID’s stress and isolation with kindness. The Masts began their family project in September. Since then, they’ve made three contactless deliveries of baskets via text alerts and then porch drop-offs and pickups. They’ve adapted the contents based on the ages of the children and their interests.
“For us, Quaratine Blessing Busy Baskets are a way of living out the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and doing unto others as they have done to us,” Mallory Mast said. “We’ve all been forgiven of our sins and we believe the least we can do is be kind and forgiving to others.
“Literally, we feel it’s what Jesus would do,” Stephen Mast added. “Our cups are really filled when we know we can make a positive impact on others. Even a small act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
“We all have something we can do to help someone else.”
Triad Baptist members since 2016 who volunteer with the Nursery and Security teams respectively, Mallory and Stephen decided to start putting baskets together after considering how friends and neighbors had supported them and their children.
“Last summer, our third child was born prematurely and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for four weeks,” Mallory said. “Here we were going back and forth to Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in the middle of a pandemic with three kids under age four. People in the church and our friend circle really stepped up for us.”
They did so again, she said, when COVID struck the family in August and put them in quarantine.
“Fortunately, no one got very sick,” Mallory said. “The hardest part was continuing to work two full-time jobs (Stephen’s systems engineering and my Radiology IT marketing position) with all our children in the house at the same time.
“Those two experiences shaped our idea to help some families we know who find themselves in similar situations. Hopefully, they find it a nice little pick-me-up that comes at just the right time.”
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