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Students and staff at Glendora Online Academy of Learning work a little Easter miracle – Pasadena Star News


It’s the little things that aren’t little, we all know that. If you stop and think about it, Easter Sunday is certainly a very big deal. One man died and came to life again. The miracle of miracles, the faithful say.

And at first glance, a simple donation to a local food bank may not have much to do with what happened in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. But it touched me. So I emailed Jhoana Hirasuna, executive director at Shepherd’s Pantry in Glendora, who works every day to help anyone who needs “Hope and a Helping Hand,” as the pantry’s mission says. Hirasuna received a donation of 85 Easter baskets from the families of Glendora Online Academy of Learning. The gifts would be included in the pantry’s Easter meal distribution on April 14-15.

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She in turn introduced me to Melissa Germann, who is a teacher, and who also helps others every day. She tells me first that it was their honor to donate the baskets, and that she is so proud of the GOAL community.

Four weeks ago, the online school’s staff sent a flyer to its 350 students and their parents, inviting them to donate items for the campaign: sealed candy or nuts, snacks, silly putty, bubbles, small balls, yo yos and school supplies. Students made “Happy Easter” cards. All the items were gathered at Whitcomb High School in Glendora, where GOAL staff has their offices.

The Carlos family drop off Easter baskets they helped assemble to Desiree Calvillo, case manager at Shepherd’s Pantry in Glendora. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Germann)

Later, 50 students and staff assembled the baskets. Staff drove them over to Shepherd’s Pantry in Glendora. The pantry’s three facilities are headquarters for small miracles every day: dispensing food, advice, connections, tutoring, case management, and even haircuts and, one year, mini-days of pampering for the mothers of clients. People go there to get help. Many others from surrounding cities go there to help.

Germann said the families of her online school felt it was their responsibility to bring cheer to children who may not have much reason to be cheerful.

“The GOAL program began last year and thought it important to give our students a chance to participate in a service project, especially since the majority of them are not on their home campus site,” she said. “Last year, we collected snacks and coffee products and donated them to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital staff as they were working overtime to keep our community safe from COVID. This year, we partnered with Shepherd’s Pantry to collect Easter baskets for families who received a free Easter meal through the pantry.”

Germann said the GOAL staff is proud of the generosity of the students and their families and honored to partner with Shepherd’s Pantry to bring smiles to kids’ faces as they receive their Easter baskets.

“Serving the community is an important part of the Glendora Unified School District tradition,” she added.

I thought of 85 local children who may not be able to contain their joy when they open the crinkly-cellophane basket of candy and put on silly bunny ears and smell the new crayons they received. They’ll go to their mothers with faces sticky from Fun Dips. “Look what I got!”

I like to think about all the work that went into that one moment. So yes, there is that Easter story. I like to think of the miracle in that.

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