JLW Blog: How Sustainers Stayed Connected During COVID-19

By: Molly DiGiammarino

Despite COVID-19, sustainers found new and creative ways to stay connected with each other and the Junior League of Washington (JLW). In late May 2020, while helping clean up from Tossed & Found, Barbara Franklin, chair of the Sustainer Committee, said she was inspired by the relationship that had been built between the committee and the State Department. Through their partnership, many donations were distributed to families who were unexpectedly called back to the area due to the pandemic.

That inspiration led Barbara and her committee to host a Fall Tea for sustainers. The event was held virtually in lieu of the traditional fall luncheon. As part of the event, the 2019-2020 Tossed & Found Committee, sustainers, and active members were invited to a Celebration of Leadership.

The main speaker was Ambassador Doria Rosen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. Kelly Hunter of the Tossed & Found committee and Alex Shaw, JLW member and Foreign Service Officer posted in Mexico City, joined JLW 2020-2021 President Jessica Taylor White for a discussion about the partnership with the Association of Foreign Service Workers. Attendees broke out into small groups for further discussions about leadership in the Junior League of Washington (JLW) during the pandemic.

Sustainers have also stayed connected throughout the pandemic with communications tools such as their newsletter, the Sustainer Spin. The December issue included an extensive update about how JLW and its placements have adapted to volunteering in spite of the pandemic. The Sustainer Committee also partnered with the Kitchen Tour Committee to promote fun events and content for Sustainers. 

As the Sustainer Committee looks towards a new league year, the Committee is looking forward to creative new ways to bring members together safely, both virtually and in-person.