By Michelle Reese

In a quote that's probably been shared countless times on the Internet, Mister Rogers shared, “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” Well, we're in one of those times where the news can be pretty scary. But luckily, if you look around, you can also find incredibly inspiring stories. Stories that remind us that even though we're practicing social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, we're still a community that cares.

One such story is that of 7-year-old (she just celebrated on March 23!) Audrey Meadows Priore in Holland, PA who spent hours this week sewing medical masks. Her mom, Allison Meadows Priore, explained that she saw a friend post online that they are in desperate need of masks for the CCU and ICU at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She asked Audrey how she felt about helping, and she was all in. “I have been sewing since I was a teenager so I was able to look over a few tutorials and play around until I was comfortable with a pattern that she would be able to execute. After we figured it out, it was super easy,” Allison said. Prior to this, Audrey didn't know how to sew, so they did a few “practice masks” as she got comfortable with the sewing machine.  “I showed her how to pin the fabric we cut, iron the fabric to get it ready for sewing, and then how to sew a straight line. She impressed me with how quickly she picked it up and was able to do it by herself.”

Audrey Meadows Priore (7) sewing medical masks for local professionals in need.

Audrey's first 10 masks were for a nurse at HUP, who picked them up just a few hours after Audrey completed them. Since then, she has made over 20 more for  people that work in the medical field including a physical therapist and an ultrasound tech. Audrey is the middle child among three, and everyone pitched in. Her older brother Stephen (9) helped with the cutting, pinning, ironing and sewing. Younger sister Willow (4) helped in age appropriate ways – pushing the sewing machine pedal and cutting some fabric.

School might not be in session, but lessons are still being learned. According to Allison, “It was such a silver lining to all of this craziness that I had the chance to teach her something that my mom taught me. We are such a busy family that without being forced to stop our lives at the rate we were speeding through them, I probably would have never shown her.” She continued, “This was such a great life lesson to teach her that she was just doing this to help. She wasn’t going to get anything material from this. Just the feeling you get when you help others. Honestly that’s actually the greatest gift of all.” When asked how this experience made her feel, Audrey responded, “Good because I like to help.” And her favorite part was, “I liked learning how to sew and make masks. And spending time with mommy.” Speaking of school, Audrey's first grade teacher Mrs. Moore heard about what Audrey was doing and responded with, “I am lucky to be her teacher and she truly has a HEART OF GOLD!”

Allison and Audrey have been able to do this project using scraps of fabric and elastic that Allison had saved over the years. If you'd like to help our medical professionals during this time of need, you can learn how to make masks yourself, or you can donate 100% cotton fabric and/or 1/4″ elastic to Audrey or other local groups committed to the cause.

Looking for more ways YOU can help? Click here.

To keep the positive vibes going, here are some stories of how people in the community and local businesses are helping others … 

Businesses Giving Back to the Community

Mill Street Cantina

101 Mill Street, Bristol
215-788-0969

Mill Street Cantina started a Cantina Cares Campaign where they are donating and distributing grab-and-go meals to people in need. The “Taco Night” package includes chips, salsas, bottles of water, tortillas, achiote chicken, pork carnitas, roasted veggies, sour cream, cheese, rice, beans and dessert. Plus, a roll of toilet paper and a Corona beer! There are 25 meals (that feed 4) available each day. You can call the restaurant starting at 11 a.m. to arrange for pick-up or delivery between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

According to their gofundme page, “The Cantina understands this is a trying time for our country, if we can help in any way, that’s  what we will do and continue to with help.” You can donate to help them keep this going at this link.

While the restaurant is currently limiting their kitchen to the Cantina Cares meals, you can stop in to purchase takeout beer.

Tre Fratelli

17 Summit Square Shopping Center, Langhorne
215-968-1700

Tre Fratelli is offering free meal packages of ziti, salad and a loaf of bread to anyone in need.  Just call and ask for the “Family Special.” In addition to the dinner special, the restaurant is offering  free sliced lunch meats, cheese and other grocery items to struggling families. Ask for Jim or Larry when you call.

The restaurant’s Facebook page states, “We need to all shine to light up the darkness!”

If you’d like to support the restaurant, you can take out and curbside pickup between noon and 8 p.m. (closing at 7 on Sundays.) Delivery will end 30 minutes prior to closing time. They are also offering 20% off all of their food trays.

Carlucci's Grill Yardley

1633 Big Oak Road, Yardley
215-321-9010

Carlucci's family of restaurants is offering some great deals to help families. (And showing your support will also help family businesses like this from going under.) They have an online instant gift card promotion where you receive a free $15 bonus gift certificate for every $50 you purchase. In addition to their a la carte menu, they are also offering family package meals. Choose a chicken dish of your choice (Parmigiana, Marsala, Francese or Piccata), pasta, salad and bread. The package costs $85 (plus tax) for 15 people or $50 (plus tax) for 10 people. (Get a few meals out of it!) Food is available for takeout or free delivery with a minimum $50 order.

And here's another reason to love them … they delivered a huge spread of food to the Middletown Township Police to show their appreciation for their hard work right now.

Lou’s Farm Mart

2450 Bristol Pike, Bensalem
215-639-9979

Lou’s Farm Market is giving customers several options to make shopping easier and safer during this time. They are opening the doors an hour early, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., specifically for senior citizens. They are also allowing customers to call in orders at 215-639-9979. When you arrive, they will run it out to your car for you. Or, you can have your order delivered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. These options are in addition to shopping the store in-person.

Lee’s Hoagie House in Doylestown

266 S. Main Street, Doylestown
215-377-9377

Lee’s Hoagie House is doing a mask and glove trade. Trade in 3 unused medical masks or 1 box of latex gloves, and receive one free hoagie.

Lee’s is offering takeout and delivery.

Artistic Pizzeria

12 W. State Street, Doylestown
215-345-1000

Artistic Pizzeria recently showed their appreciation to those in healthcare by delivering stacks of pizza to Doylestown Hospital. They’re also encouraging others to send some love to those working on the front line by sending an E-gift card.

The pizzeria is offering curbside pickup and no-contact delivery. (They text you and leave your food at your door.) If you’re looking for a tasty activity, order kits to make your own personal size pizza for $6.99.

Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar

The Village at Newtown
2865 S. Eagle Road, Newtown
215-944-8469

The CEO/Founder of Harvest has been very transparent with the company’s struggles during this time. They have made the difficult decision to close roughly half of their locations and while once a family of 800 people, they’re currently keeping the company going with just 25 people.

Open for curb-side pick-up and delivery. Order from a la carte menus or choose their family style take-out bundles with two-course meals to feed four. Check the Facebook page for menus. Gift cards are being sold at a 10% discount. All funds from gift card sales will go directly to pay employees and provide an emergency fund for them to prevent evictions, utility shut offs and to help them purchase groceries.

Ooka Doylestown

110 Veterans Lane, Doylestown
215-348-8185

Ooka is showing their appreciation to those on the front lines by offering a free lunch special to all hospital doctors, nurses and police officers that call and order curbside pickup.

If you’d like to support this business, you can order takeout daily from noon to 8:30 p.m.

Piccolo Trattoria

32 West Road, Newtown
215-860-4247

Piccolo Trattoria showed their support for healthcare professionals by delivering pizza to St. Mary Medical Center.

To support this family-owned restaurant, you can order curbside pickup or no-contact doorstep free delivery ($50 minimum for 3 mile radious, $100 for more than 3 miles). Choose from individual meals or full trays of favorites like chicken parm and homemade pesto gnocchi.

Restaurants Offering Pick-Up and/or Delivery:

This is just a sampling of the many local restaurants that are doing what they can to safely bring their delicious food to your home.

Isaac Newton's Bar & Restaurant (Newtown), 2019 Bucks Happening List Winner for Kid-Friendly
Jules Pizza (Doylestown, Newtown), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Kid-Friendly
Giuseppe's Pizza & Family Restaurant (Warminster), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Kid-Friendly
Annabella's Italian Restaurant (Bristol), 2019 Bucks Happening List Winner for Italian
Piccolo Trattoria (Newtown), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Italian, Pizza
The Perk (Perkasie), 2019 Bucks Happening List Winner for Burger
Steam Pub (Southampton), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Burger, Appetizer
Fireside Smokehouse (Feasterville), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Appetizer
The Pineville Tavern (Pineville), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for New American, Appetizer
Itri Wood Fired (Bristol), 2019 Bucks Happening List Winner for Pizza
Gianni's Pizza (Richboro), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Pizza
Chuck's BBQ (Bristol), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for Sandwich
Caleb's American Kitchen (Lahaska), 2019 Bucks Happening List Finalist for French Fries

And speaking of people going out of their way to help others, local photographer Taylor Cotilla and her 14-year-old daughter Josey drove around Doylestown making a list of all of the restaurants and cafes. Then they researched who was open and what they were offering. Check out that list here.

Stores with Modified Hours:

Lou’s Farm Mart: Lou’s in Bensalem will be opening the doors an hour early, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., specifically for senior citizens. They are also allowing customers to call in orders at 215-639-9979. When you arrive, they will run it out to your car for you.

Whole Foods: Starting March 18, Whole Foods Market locations will open an hour early at 6 a.m. to allow customers who are 60 and older to shop. It will then open to the general public at 7 a.m. The stores also close two hours early.

Giant: Starting March 19, Giant will set aside time for shoppers age 60 and older. They can shop from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m daily. Giant stores will close at 10 p.m.

Target: The company says they will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns. Stores will close at 9 p.m. to allow employees to clean and restock shelves.

Dollar General: Stores are adjusting their hours for older shoppers. The first hour of operations each day will be dedicated solely to senior customers. All stores will also close one hour earlier to allow employees clean and restock store shelves.

Walmart: U.S. stores will adjust operating hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time.

ACME: The company has reserved 7 to 9 a.m. every Monday through Friday for those vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated.  Customers should check their local store’s hours if they’re opening on a different schedule.

BJ’S Wholesale Club: Pennsylvania locations will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. daily for members 60 and older.

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