The QuaranFam

A grid of faces representing participants on a Zoom call

On March 18th, 2020 – one day before Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered a shutdown of “all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania” – in a small town outside of Philadelphia, a post went up on Facebook. The post was only a few lines long, and succinct:
I've seen a few people suggest this, So I thought I might start up a “Fireside Chat” of some kind. A place where all of us can catch up, talk about what's happening, share ideas, and virtually hang out. But more than anything, a chance for us to come together and help each other out as much as we can!”

The first night of what ultimately became known as “The QuaranFam” (QF) brought mostly strangers from all parts of the country together in something called a “Zoom” – that only a few had used for work here and there.

During the earliest days of quarantine, a group of about 30 people, all from different socio-economic and religious backgrounds became each other’s lifelines, sounding boards, and friends. The only thing they all had in common at the outset was the person who brought them together.

Birthdays were celebrated by drive-by parades and lawn signs (one such birthday greeting was accidentally put up at the wrong house, lol). When restrictions were loosened, small gatherings were had, and the group became something none of us had ever expected it to become. It was the QF that helped people find jobs, navigate divorce, cope with a bad day, and discover love in various ways. It doesn’t take more than a call or text to spring the QF into action when a member is in need.

This article is being written on December 8th, 2020. About 30 minutes before our 265th consecutive night of the “QuaranFam Zoom” – and while some of us may not get on as often as we’d like anymore, we have become and will forever be, family to each other.

Even if after 265 nights, the inevitable, “YOU’RE MUTED!” is yelled out in perfect, synchronous laughter.