19 Thanks launches across Louisiana at 1900 hours (7 p.m.) April 19
Baton Rouge, LA. - 19 Thanks started when Deborah Sternberg wanted to turn the number 19 on its head.
“I understand the need to focus on the numbers associated with the pandemic,” Sternberg said. “But I wondered if we could turn COVID-19 on its head a bit.”
Sternberg began to make plans.
“What about a collective tribute to all essential workers on the 19th of every month at 1900 hours?” Sternberg, a Baton Rouge native business leader and philanthropist, asked. “Let’s all write notes and record messages of appreciation for the world to see through 19Thanks.org.”
19 Thanks also proposes that individuals, organizations and places of worship across Louisiana ring a bell 19 times at 1900 hours on the 19th of every month to show gratitude to essential workers for allowing so many of us to stay home and stay healthy while keeping the state, the country, and the world moving on our behalf.
“If you don’t have a bell handy, bang a pot or pan 19 times instead,” Sternberg said. “That’s another reminder that there are plenty of people who are hungry.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards supports the initiative and will participate.
“Focusing on what unites us during this unprecedented time is important, and I commend Deborah for creating a way to bring us together,” said Edwards. “Showing appreciation for our heroes, the men and women who are on the frontline of helping our communities through this, reminds us of their sacrifices and that the only way we are going to be successful is by working together.”
The website, www.19thanks.org, gives people the opportunity to express gratitude and to give to Feeding Louisiana in support of regional food banks and local United Ways throughout Louisiana for community-response efforts.
“We invite everyone to ring a bell to pay tribute to the selfless service of so many Louisianians during this time. We extend a special invitation to places of worship and universities across the state to ring their bells 19 times, joining others on their front porches, patios and in their driveways — at 1900 hours on the 19th of every month until these uncertain times are behind us,” said Sarah Berthelot, Louisiana Association of United Way President and CEO. “Coming together for this moment unites us and gives us an opportunity to help those hurting from the series of disasters over the last weeks.”
Korey Patty, executive director of Feeding Louisiana, says the spread of COVID-19 has pushed many Louisianians into food insecurity for the first time, while it has exacerbated the struggle of those facing it before the pandemic hit.
“Food bank staff and volunteers stand alongside our partners on the front lines of response — from healthcare workers to the essential employees making sure our world still runs, recognizing that, together, we will get through this,” Patty said.
Sternberg welcomes the growth of her idea.
“That’s the beauty of it,” she said. “The more people hear about it, the more that can come from it. I hope it unites the state and gives people across Louisiana something to look forward to and be proud of. It’s important to come together and show our gratitude.”
For more information, go to www.19thanks.org.