Buried under the headlines of death, illness and economic troubles, are news stories of kindness and generosity.   I sift thru the news and grasp these tales to lift my heart.

It started by helping a few neighbors

March 10 – Pre-med student Jayde Powell began calling some elderly neighbors to see if they would like her to pick up supplies for them at the store (her mom’s idea).  She asked members of her school’s medical fraternity to help her with the purchasing and delivery.  They called the group Shopping Angels, and created a Facebook page on March 13 to reach both those who might need help or other college students, who could assist with shopping.  She was “astonished” by the response.  Overnight there were people from Connecticut, Long Island, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Arizona offering to help, to organize something similar where they lived.  Powell didn’t want anyone do without essentials during the pandemic, so she organized a GoFundMe fund to pay for supplies for people who couldn’t afford them. (Full Story here)

Wanting others to know we care

Mid-March – as Italy’s deathtoll spiraled, people from the town of Bamberg, Germany  sang ‘Bella ciao’, an Italian resistance song, in solidarity with Italy. 

March 21 –

Meanwhile people in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Athens and Amsterdam, began standing on balconies each night for a minute of cheering and applauding health care workers.

A Teen and His Family Help in Unique Way

Late March – Schools, public gatherings and workplaces began shutting down in the U.S.  Stuck at home and bummed about his lacrosse season being cancelled, one high-school student decided to do something positive with his extra time.  Prior to coronavirus, TJ Kim had been taking flying lessons and he asked his flight instructor if they could use his flying time to deliver badly needed supplies to rural hospitals.  When he made his first delivery, on March 27 to a 25-bed hospital in Luray, TJ was surprised by the response.  “They kind of conveyed to me that they were really forgotten about. Everyone was wanting to send donations to big city hospitals,” he said. “Every hospital is hurting for supplies, but it’s the rural hospitals that really feel forgotten.” (Read full story here)

Offloading Daily Tasks from Medical Personnel

It’s been easy to see how difficult the lives of doctors, nurses and other medical workers have become.  But not so easy to know what to do.  In Minnesota, a couple of medical students wondered if maybe they could take care of some every day tasks (petcare, daycare, shopping, etc) for healthcare workers, allowing them to rest more when they weren’t working.   They quickly created, MN Covidsitters to help healthcare providers in their area “who need help managing their household while serving at the frontlines during the coronavirus outbreak.”  A similar group has since been begun in Maine. (Read full story here)

Stepping Up to The Plate

April: Many doctors and nurses have left homes or families behind to come help in critical areas, such as NY City.  Registered Nurse Elizabeth Schafer, 36, of South St. Paul, Minn., volunteering at Beth Israel Mount Sinai Hospital said “I took an oath as a nurse to do no harm and just go where I was needed,” Schafer added. “I told my students, you step up to the plate when you’re needed as a nurse, all the time, no matter what.”

We need to come together

After hearing about the shortage of masks, Xiao-Yin Byrom, the owner of Tang’s Bridal and Alterations, told her staff to stop creating wedding dresses, that they were going to begin making masks.  “This is a war. We need to come together,” Byrom said. “We need to help the first responders.”  It took a few days for Byrom to design the mask and be sure that it properly filtered particles.  As of April 8, Tang’s Alterations Bridal and Bespoke has delivered over 1,280 masks and is aiming to create 6000. (Read full story here.)

If you like the idea of creating masks for medical staff, you might consider joining the Million Mask Challenge.  “We’re making a large facemask that has ties on it that can fit over the large N95 respirators that health care providers wear and which are in limited supply,” explained Christina Headrick, a founding member of the group.  By covering the large N95 respirator, healthcare workers can use one for multiple days.  And while homemade masks are less effective than N95 or surgical grade masks, they are better than a bandana or loose scarf, which is many people’s only option.

In addition to these news stories, I see kindness among my friends and family.   One is working with a group supplying healthy snacks to hospital workers.  Another pre-purchased his dog’s next kennel stay, worried about how the small business owner could pay their bills without people traveling.

I hope these examples of people’s generosity during the pandemic has inspired you.  Please consider sharing with a friend who might need a lift.   

And if you are left looking for ways that YOU might help, consider : 

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton