With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many holiday gatherings have looked a lot different in 2020.
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While college professor Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Pearce was able to spend the day with her immediate family, her thoughts were with her students at the University of Iowa. Many of them weren’t able to go home for Thanksgiving, so she decided to go above and beyond to make them smile!
Several of her students had to stay in Iowa City due to travel restrictions and safety concerns. Even though Liz hasn’t met most of them in person because she’s been teaching remotely, it broke her heart to imagine them spending Thanksgiving alone. After consulting with her family, Liz extended an offer to bring each of them a traditional turkey day meal as long as they lived within 20 miles of her home.
“I know this has been a difficult time for a lot of you,” she wrote in an email. “I don’t want anyone to feel alone at Thanksgiving or to miss out on a home-cooked family dinner.”
When Leah Blask, one of Liz’s students, got the message, it warmed her heart so much that she decided to share it on Twitter. “My professor is absolutely too pure for this world,” she said.
The moving tweet quickly went viral! People from all over began offering to send donations to help fund the meals, but Liz refused any sort of payment. She just wanted to do something nice for her students!
“I think the students are struggling, to be honest, and I think we often hear publicity about students going into the bars and being super-spreaders,” she explained. “But I think what we don’t hear is the struggles they are going through.”
You know, they’re managing and they’re trying to do coursework while they’re sick. They’re not able to see their family when they feel vulnerable. Many of them have lost their part-time jobs and feel a sense of financial insecurity. And some of their families have hardships too. So I think they’re juggling lots of difficult fights right now. And just in talking with the students, I just felt like maybe they needed a bit of pick-me-up.
The wonderful professor even promised to deliver up to three meals to share with their roommates, plus a vegan option! What a kind, considerate thing to do. This is just another example of how important teachers are in the lives of their students!
Share this story to thank Liz and her family for the thoughtful gesture.
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