Making Memories from the Front Steps

When Dorothy Gale returned from her trip to Oz, she had a realization: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.  Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

If Dorothy was living in modern-day Abington and settling into new routines in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 vorus, she may amend that to looking no further than her front steps.

Across the country, families and photographers are taking part in The Front Steps Project, where photographers take pictures of families on their front steps, porch or in front of their home from a safe social distance.  Instead of charging a fee, photographers are simply requesting a donation to benefit those in need during the outbreak.

Abington photographer Katie O’Neill was excited at the opportunity to join this creative movement. 

“I wanted to be part of the Front Steps Project to help lift spirits and raise money to support different causes related to COVID-19,” said O’Neill. “I will be donating the proceeds to a couple of town food banks as well as to someone local making homemade masks.”

The response has been overwhelming. O’Neill has been able to work with families — and sometimes their pets — from Abington, Brockton, Hingham, Holbrook, Braintree and Whitman.   Her photos depict real families and real life, creating memories for families who’ve had their lives turned upside dow by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Sweeney, of Abington, was one of the families who took part in the Front Steps experience. 

“We were thrilled with Katie and loved the fact that our family has a picture to look back on once this entire thing is behind us,” she said. “As an added bonus, our donation went to the Abington Food Pantry and to purchase material for face masks.”

As current news reports the United States is preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases over the next couple of weeks, most photographers are pausing their Front Steps projects in an effort to encourage everyone to stay at home.  O’Neill has decided to pause after this week as well, but not without praising the generosity of the community.   

“I think this project has truly raised spirits and everyone involved has been so generous and happy to help out their community,” said O’Neill. 

“It really gives people a sense of purpose in this uncertain time. I get chills just thinking about how special this project really is.”

Written by Michele Christian

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