What is the small movement? The small movement is 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, making masks 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 and ears.

My cat, Kiki, and masks that went to TJ made by Becky, Griselda, and Lynn.

The movement includes about eight people, give or take.  They include four paisanos [as Jews call each other in Mexico] myself, a Grossmont College teacher and writer, well-known international artist Becky Guttin, Janna Leoff, and Dr. Frank Kalmar. The movement also includes Grossmont College teachers, Sara Ferguson, and Edda Temoche, a Continuing Education retired teacher, Lynn Francis, well known bi-national artist Griselda Rosas, East County Magazine writer, Rebecca Williamson, and former JFS employee Sharonne Ketels, who still supports them.

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.”

Thank you note from Rady's.

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

Janna’s neighbor is a nurse at Rady’s and 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, made the masks, and 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 which were delivered to a place in that works with migrants 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.

Headbands that Lynn made.

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 and Stuart Morgan,, 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?  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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Miriam [Mimi] Pollack was born in Chicago, but moved to Mexico City when she was five years old. She lived and worked in Mexico for over 20 years. She currently resides in San Diego and worked as an ESL instructor at Grossmont College and San Diego Community College Continuing Education until June 2018. She writes for various local publications.