Essential. Social Distancing. COVID. Coronavirus. Community Spread. Contact tracing. Plus there’s more. All words that we didn’t know or think of before 2020. But, allow me to throw a few words into the mix that are POSITIVE outcomes of COVID: The Front Porch Project.
Allow me to explain. A popular trend across social media has been photographers, like our local Hammond professional photographer Kali Norton, offering their talents to bring community together. Kali, like others across the country, visited families and took their photo then gave it to them - free of charge - to share.
The Front Porch - let’s discuss. I believe that Anne Roderique-Jones said it best in her article “Porching Isn't Just a Southern Tradition—It's a Way of Life”. Sure, you can porch anywhere, but in the South, we've truly mastered the art.
The front porch has ALWAYS held a special spot in my heart, memories and my life. You see I don’t recall EVER having a home as a child that did not have a front porch. There I watched fireflies, played with my dog, took naps on the swing, ate popsicles on the steps, had dinner with my momma and hugged my brother on the front porch when he came home from the Army. You see The Front Porch is special for many reasons. We gather with friends, family and capture moments for ourselves that we hold dear forever.
So, when I got the email from Kali Norton offering her valuable services to take our family photo in front of our “front porch” here at 5 Stones I jumped at the opportunity. While we don’t have a “traditional” front porch, we have the symbolic entryway where we greet people and where we come and go. Once she took the photos she added them to her gallery and invited folks to share their photos on social media and in The Front Porch Project Hammond Facebook group.
The Hammond Downtown Development District took advantage of the opportunity to promote downtown businesses and residents through this sweet project. They asked if they could spotlight us with our photos along with other downtown businesses.
Participating in this project brings people together. It gives us a common bond. It unites. It brings us together. One thing I love is seeing everyone’s photos and thinking “Oh, that’s your porch!”. I’ve walked in front of some downtown homes and gazed at the beauty of their front porch. Then when I saw their photo I was able to put a family with that porch.
I’m so appreciative of Kali Norton for seizing the moment and combining her talents with this national project during a time when people are being so deeply impacted. It takes us all finding our talents and putting them to use to help others. It’s about the whole picture, friends. Taking a step back to see the whole picture. How can you help? What can you do to build community? To bring hope, a smile and some joy.
Kali & The Hammond Downtown Development District, thank you for bringing some joy to our community and getting families back out on their front porch. I pray sweet moments and memories were made that last a lifetime - and cause families to go back to the front porch again and again.