The Front Porch Project

Nobody would have predicted just a few months ago that the whole world would be thrown into the midst of a global pandemic that would unapologetically disrupt the course of the lives of, well…EVERYONE.

It’s a scary time with so much unknown. Every day, almost hour by hour, the life we used to know fizzles away as the earth feels like it’s coming to a jolting stop.

It’s WEIRD.

And it’s unsettling.

So what do I do? Well, aside from hours of blowing bubbles and chalk drawing on the sidewalk with my two toddlers, I wondered to myself, “How can I help? What can I do? How do I serve?”

And then I heard about the Front Porch Project, and instantly the answer came.

“Serve through photos.”

I decided without even much thought I would offer family portraits to my neighbors, on their front porch, for free. No – family pictures won’t stop the virus, and they won’t give jobs to the unemployed, but maybe they could serve in a way that is still just as badly needed.

Pictures give people a reason to smile, a reason to celebrate their family, a reminder that really, they have everything they need – safe at home. I wanted to give families a memento of what they’re working through together, an event to look forward to (if only for 5 minutes), and in the very least, maybe just a reason to put on pants.

It was a lot of work to coordinate the shoots logistically, but work I loved. I made a sign-up form and within just a few days I had 54 families sign up in my little neighborhood in Issaquah, WA. 54 families! I created spreadsheets, mapped out my routes, set up a time (which, amazingly, worked for everyone except the family coming home from the hospital with a new baby), and set out!

I rode my bike around the neighborhood, texting families a few houses before I arrived. In most cases, I didn’t even have to knock on the door as the families were waiting outside for me. I kept a safe distance the entire time (never closer than 10 feet), and took a few pictures of each family before jumping back on my bike to race to the next house.

The photoshoots lasted about 3 minutes. Some families dressed up, some wore their jammies. Others brought props or held signs. Kids squirmed in their parents’ laps and teenagers rolled their eyes. The families laughed, they smiled, and I felt for just a moment like the world was going to be okay.

My cutest support crew (my husband pushing the double stroller with 2 lollipop-coated kids) trailed along with me, texting families as we went and directing me where to go next over the course of two evenings. After 4 hours, 48 houses (and one dog bite!), I came home refreshed, excited (and yeah, with a badly bruised leg…still worth it) and ready to take on whatever this coronavirus is going to throw at us next.

I hope you love looking at the pictures as much as I loved taking them.

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