In spite of the harshness brought by a pandemic, communities are rallying together to support not only each other, but also the healthcare workers and emergency responders working 24/7 to care for those affected by COVID-19. Small acts of compassion and kindness are going a long way, as businesses and individuals alike take steps to alleviate the situation – solidarity might just be what the world needs right now.
To cut through the bad news, we’ve put together some feel-good stories to restore your faith and remind you that, despite the harrowing news surrounding COVID-19, small actions can have huge impacts on their neighbors. Here are some of the ways communities are showing up for one another when it’s needed most:
A major pain point for governments and hospital staff has been a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Face masks, gloves, and goggles are all in low supply at care facilities, and doctors and nurses now often reuse PPE each day, which can increase the risk of infection for both the healthcare workers and their loved ones at home.
People of all ages and occupations around the country are stepping up where supplies aren’t immediately available, donating handmade equipment in the meantime. A man in Bismarck, North Dakota is 3D-printing face masks and donating them to his local hospital. In West Hartford, Connecticut, a 92-year-old retired teacher is sewing face masks at home and teaching others in her community how to do it via Facebook. A group of Issaquah, Washington Boy Scouts are hand making thousands of masks to donate, as well.
Along with wearing masks comes ear irritation and soreness from the elastic bands – innovators have come up with a solution in mask extenders, which are usually clipped into hair. A 12-year-old Rockland, New York boy is 3D-printing mask extenders, so healthcare professionals can more comfortably wear their face masks for extended periods of time. He is even inviting others with 3D printers to do the same to increase the amount of extenders they can get to nurses. (If you’d like to help the cause, here’s the mask extender file.)
Across cities, small businesses and residents are chipping in to create care packages for their healthcare workers. A local bakery in Illinois, together with the local hospital, partnered to create sweet treats for the healthcare staff. Small businesses in Stamford, Connecticut are putting together boxes of snacks for EMS and healthcare workers.
E.T. Browne Drug Co.’s facility in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, which usually manufactures personal care products, has shifted gears to bottling hand sanitizers to send to U.S. military personnel. The plant’s director of manufacturing noted, “Not only will our sanitizer benefit workers on the frontlines, but it will also support our local neighborhood and secure jobs for our 300 employees who need to take care of their families during this pandemic.”
People are also putting together boxed lunches for the community’s school children who might face food insecurity, especially as schools close. Tyler Davis, a chef in St. Louis, along with volunteers, is putting together lunch kits that last around 5 days and delivering them to the front doors of children in need.
After discovering that an elderly woman living with her disabled son was left without food just last week, Officer Jill Marshall of the Warwick Police Department took matters into his own hands. He purchased everything on her grocery list plus food for the cat – with the grocery store and other shoppers pitching in with $125 to fund the purchase.
Because the elderly and immunosuppressed are most vulnerable among those affected by COVID-19, policemen have taken it upon themselves to personally deliver groceries to those in need. Routine activities, like trips to the grocery store or walks around the block, have become especially dangerous for these individuals.
Similar stories are heard across the US, especially in rural areas, where grocery stores are far and few between. From Nebraska and Michigan to New Jersey, police departments are using their time to serve the most vulnerable members of their communities.
The bravery of emergency responders and healthcare workers has not gone unnoticed. People are honoring their hard work and giving back in different ways, but all just as impactful.
Boston’s Villa Mexico Cafe lost 80 percent of its business because of the coronavirus, but has started to ask for donations to pay for and deliver groceries to first responders. Restoration company No Fuss Solutions is offering free vehicle cleaning and disinfecting for first responders in Bay County, Florida. Even small gestures, like picket signs by teens thanking those on the front lines, mean everything.
A physical manifestation of the overwhelming gratitude can be seen in people clapping (and banging pots and pans) from their balconies and windows in New York City – a way to say thanks to healthcare workers, first responders, and delivery workers for braving the storm. What started as a one night celebration has now expanded to every night at 7pm. San Diego holds similar celebrations, along with other cities in the U.S. and Europe.
Echoing communities worldwide, we at RapidSOS would like to say thank you to those on the frontlines serving their communities day in and day out. Remember there’s always light at the end of a tunnel, and we will get through this together, even if we have to stay six feet apart.