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Oakdale Family’s Initiative Inspires Facebook Community
Oakdale High School Career Center Technician Lisa Jones, center, alongside daughters Maddie, left, and Meghan on their family property. The three Jones women began sharing lemons and rosemary from their garden last month, prior to the shelter in place order. They are now the heart and brains behind the #BeStrong95361Strong Facebook page. Photo Contributed

Lisa Jones wasn’t looking to start a movement, yet that’s exactly what happened.

A simple activity of giving has morphed into something larger as she and her daughters Meghan, 14, and Maddie, 15, transitioned from sharing rosemary and lemons with the community to launching a Facebook page with over 1,300 followers in one short week.

The Oakdale High School Career Center Technician shared that early into the break from school, she and her daughters began picking lemons and rosemary from their property as a way of passing time, as well as spreading some cheer throughout the community. Utilizing a simple Facebook post on her social media page, the trio then began traveling throughout the 95361 with deliveries.

“In our family I’ve created a ‘Be strong. Jones strong’,” Jones said of an inspiring family mantra. “So they just know that when you come across times of challenge you need to be strong … Jones strong.”

The mother of three shared that as they made their travels, making new friends throughout the community she felt inspired to create a page which would marry her family mantra, with the goodness they were experiencing.

“To me this was something of giving to the community and getting us out of the house without breaking the rules,” she said of the deliveries.

So began the Facebook page #BeStrong95361Strong.

“I just felt it was sort of my calling, that this happened,” she said of the deliveries, followed by the creation of the Facebook page.

A page which Jones shared initially was set up for the community members they had made deliveries to. Each delivery affixed with a crafted heart, a little note and a ‘follow us’ on Facebook message. Additionally she stated her motivation to do something of this nature was to role model for her children how a positive movement can greatly affect a community in a positive way.

“Our community is very, very generous,” Jones said. “I feel with the shortages we’ve had through this horrible pandemic that this was something that we could do to inspire others to do the same.

“It’s not about the followers, it’s about the heart,” she continued, as she shared a lesson she’d always embodied with her children.

However in this case the followers seemed to follow the heart, as the page grew quickly so too did the feedback from the community.

Stay at home parents, small business owners, seniors and students quickly began utilizing the page to not just inquire for help but to also offer assistance in their areas of expertise. Through each of the posts, Jones would engage with positivity that has not only become the norm but also set the tone for those interacting on the page.

“My ‘why’ in creating this is also for my children, to see the positivity and to see you don’t have to be in your normal state in order to spread positive vibes throughout the area,” she said.

Jones admits, as a longtime resident of Oakdale and an OHS alum, she knew the page would attract followers, she did not however expect to surpass the 1,000 mark within three days of launching the page … and that is exactly what happened.

“That screams 95361 to me,” she said. “That shows the pride, that shows the heart, that shows our community – in a nutshell. People have really opened their hearts. Not that they generally don’t open their hearts, but it’s given them a reason to share how heartfelt they truly are.”

Of the many things which have impressed her since staring the community page, Jones shared she has been impressed most by how widespread the concerns and needs of the community have been. Not just the concerns, but the outpouring of generosity.

“Never anticipated it was going to be this big,” Jones shared with emotion in her voice and she proudly speaks of her children’s involvement with the movement.

“To see your kiddos be changed and moved through seeing these movements is gorgeous,” she summarized. “It’s so enlightening. It makes me feel good and proud that we shared this time together.”