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By Mimi Pollack


Update May 21, 2020: Dr. Kalmar and his staff love their new headbands, which have now been delivered to Grossmont Hospital to help hold masks in place more comfortable. Photo, left, courtesy of Dr. Kalmar. (Other photos courtesy of Mimi Pollack)


May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- What is the small movement? It’s an informal group of people brought together by yours truly to find ways to help others, especially during this pandemic.  This includes giving business to small mom and pop restaurants that may be struggling, buying pizzas for Grossmont Hospital staff,  making masks for Rady’s Children’s Hospital and for shelters in Tijuana, gathering and donating food and fresh fruit to a food pantry, and making headbands for hospital staff to alleviate the discomfort of face masks.

The movement so far includes two East County Magazine writers (Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and me), three Grossmont College teachers (Sara Ferguson, Edda Temoche and me), a San Diego Continuing Education retired teacher (Lynn Francis), two well-known artists (Becky Guttin and Griselda Rosas), East County resident Sharonne Ketels, North County resident, Janna Leoff, and Dr. Frank Kalmar.

The Small Movement came about because so many of us have been feeling a heightened sense of anxiety and find that keeping busy and helping others is a good way to combat that.  As Lynn would say, “It is good to do something and feel useful.”

Here are a few of the ways we have been useful:

Janna’s neighbor is a nurse at Rady’s Children’s Hospital. When she heard about our mask project, she asked if we could make both adult and children’s masks.  Lynn, Griselda, and Rebecca got to work and made the masks. I picked them up and sent them to Janna.  Her neighbor was very happy.

In addition, there is a great need for masks in Tijuana. Becky and Griselda both sent masks to several places and along with Lynn, they made up 70 masks for me which were delivered to a place in Tijuana that works with migrants. It’s called Comedor contra Viento y Marea. That means, “Against all Odds”.


Rebecca sent me the idea of headbands with buttons to help alleviate the discomfort of masks around the ears, so Janna and I got headbands and buttons, and Lynn sewed them up.  They will be delivered to Dr. Kalmar at Grossmont Hospital.

Finally, long time East County resident Sharonne Ketels whipped out her sewing machine and made masks for family, friends  and anyone who needed one.

Sara, the new chair of ESL at Grossmont College volunteers with a food pantry once a week, so through a joint effort, several of us including Sharonne gathered food and picked fresh fruit from a fellow teacher’s tree to deliver there. 

Please come join us and tell us your story. What small thing do you do to give back? Please let me know, so I can add them to the list.  My email is mimi.pollack@gcccd.edu The whole point of the Small Movement is many folks doing small things to help others. Together, we are small, but mighty!! 

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