A simple act of kindness launched a college professor in Iowa into internet fame after she offered Thanksgiving meals to any kids who can't go home for the holidays because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Liz Pearce, a communications professor at the Univerity of Iowa sent a mass email to her students that went viral after one of her students posted a screenshot of the invitation on Twitter.
"My email offer to make a few extra Thanksgiving meals would probably have been greeted by an – ‘oh that's nice’ fleeting thought last year," said Pearce. "This year, I think as we've socially distanced, we've psychologically distanced and that's why my email went viral. Instead of a simple gesture of a meal, it was seen as a moment of connection in our current disconnected world."
The student, Leah Blask, captioned the post, "My professor is absolutely too pure for this world."
My professor is absolutely too pure for this world😢❤️ pic.twitter.com/jrXRifFnp8
— leah girl (@leahh_163_) November 19, 2020
By Monday evening the tweet had gained over 900,000 likes and 78,000 retweets.
Pearce said there will be turkey, stuffing, peas, apple pie, and vegan options on the menu.
She said, "My kids are very happy to help me do this. Two of them are going to school online and my oldest daughter is working remotely at an internship. I think we all view this as a moment of connection with students who may feel alone, or sad because they aren't with their family. It's an acknowledgment that we're all in this together."
Only three people have accepted the offer so far but Pearce is extending the offer to all the majors in the department, that's over 600 students.
Pearce said she has no idea how many will still sign up so she is going to stock up on groceries to feed as many students as she can.
“Since it went viral, the only thing that changed was me - it made me realize just how hungry people are, not for food but for a bit of good news. It showed me how raw and vulnerable we all are," she said.