Our View

We are proud of the innovative solution the city of Joplin and Freeman Health System, the Joplin Christmas parade organizer, have arrived at to conduct the parade during the coronavirus pandemic.

The parade will be a drive-thru event this year, a novel take on the event and an admirable compromise between honoring the local Christmas tradition — on its 50th anniversary — and maintaining safety in the era of COVID-19.

The parade will be an opposite-day event where the watchers move along the route while the parade lines the street; floats and entertainers will park along Main Street while parade viewers slowly drive the route to see the featured participants.

“This year, the Joplin Christmas parade will be a little different than it has been in the past, but we’re going to accommodate social distancing and other safety factors while at the same time enjoying what I know will be a spectacular and a well-remembered parade,” said Paula Baker, president and CEO of Freeman Health System.

The genius of this approach is that it keeps viewers in small groups of friends and family and limits the risk through its built-in social distancing. Mayor Ryan Stanley said Freeman worked with several city departments, including the health, police and public works departments, to plan a parade to allow spectators to have a socially distant experience.

Honestly, we were concerned when the city made exceptions to the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan restrictions on large gatherings to permit the parade to go forward but wanted to keep with the tradition of our annual Christmas celebration. This is an excellent compromise that helps to assuage our concerns.

We hope you will join us in “Cruising to Christmas” — the parade theme — in the drive-thru parade to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Decade of Bright Futures

A community organization dedicated to helping provide Joplin students with resources they need to succeed has marked a decade of service.

The group was born in part from an effort to overcome Joplin High School’s dismal graduation rate in the 2000s, but Bright Futures reached beyond the high school to support all students. Since its launch in spring 2010, Bright Futures Joplin has met an estimated 12,200 student needs, served 138,060 weekend snack packs to elementary students and facilitated more than 60,000 volunteer hours in schools by connecting faith-based organizations, service groups and businesses with the school district to serve students in need.

Thanks to community partnerships, sponsorships and volunteers, Bright Futures Joplin has reached thousands of Joplin students through initiatives designed to support the basic needs of clothing, food and stable relationships, coordinator Sarah Coyne said.

To help the organization, contact it through its Facebook page or at brightfuturesjoplin.org.

The community has benefited much from Bright Futures’ work. Well done, and keep it up.

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