Helping your community during the shutdown

Photo by Noah McDonough

Noah McDonough is helping his community, Redwood City, by taking compelling pictures of both the beauty of the city and the vacant spaces and streets amid the pandemic. Check them out here. Noah is not a professional photographer, but takes his photos with his iPhone 8 Plus while walking for exercise.

Other ways to help

The New York Post ran a great article on how you can help your community during the shutdown.

Among the suggestions in the article, written by Michael Bartiromo of Fox News:

Blood banks need donations
  • Be mindful of federal, state or local guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. Maintain social distance, don’t congregate in groups, stay home unless absolutely necessary to go out for medicine or groceries
  • Organizations that feed and run errands for the elderly or otherwise unable are always seeking volunteers. Meals on Wheels America, for instance, has said some of its programs are “desperately seeking volunteers.” Feeding America is seeking volunteers to help pack and organize groceries at its food banks and pantries.
  • Online groups called “caremongering” groups are springing up so community members can stay informed of the needs of neighbors, and offer to help where they can.
  • Donate canned or non-perishable items to your local food bank.
  • Your nearby blood banks and hospitals are also in need of donations, according to a recent call from the U.S. Surgeon General.
  • Restaurants are being hit hard amid the outbreak, with dozens of states banning in-person dining altogether. Be sure to continue to patronize your favorite eating place in any way you can, by ordering takeout, delivery or even purchasing gift cards (if available) for a future date.
  • The essential workers who continue to trudge into work, day in and day out, need our support more than ever. Medical personnel, truck drivers, drive-thru workers, supermarket staffers, hardware store employees, delivery drivers, social workers — these people are continuing to work for the benefit of our communities. Ask if they could use a meal, some coffee, a bus pass you no longer need — even a few kind words can go a long way.

Saving their communities

In Glen Park, NY, caterer Andrea Correale, known for elegant events in the New York City area, saw her business vanish overnight with the sheltering in place. She quickly reinvented her business model, putting her staff at Elegant Events to work with a healthy, affordable dinners-to-go campaign, then added home grocery delivery. “I put together an entire list of what I could sell to an average household, built a website within 48 hours,” she said.

Sands Point Preserve (New York) nature park director Beth Horn, her 200 acres closed, found a way to bring the park to the public by taking the content of the art, yoga, and science and nature classes offered at the park and conducting them online. Children are not muted and encouraged to go outside. She said it’s not about maintaining revenue but keeping staff together and a community served. “It’s entirely about maintaining the connection,” she said.

In Maquoketa, Iowa, a small rural community, the family-owned main street restaurant La Casa de Pancho has started offering delivery services for the very first time and they are not just delivering food, but also drinks. Jairo Rosas, a server at the restaurant, said they had their doubts as to whether this would work out in their favor, “but it has been working out great. That has been bringing a lot of people in because of drinks and, you know, everybody wants to get their margaritas on.”

Gary Wiant, owner of Vinyl Graphics Unlimited near Clarion, PA, reinvented his business from making signs, banners, safety labels and decals, to making heavy-duty clear plastic face shields for face shields for local and national healthcare workers. He said the idea of making his face shields came about after talking to a friend of his in Maine: “We both do the same thing, and he said he had  way to help with the fight against the virus and stay in business. He sent me the files, and we made some modifications. We are selling them at a much-discounted rate and just trying to help everybody.”

Helping beyond the shutdown

Every community in the nation needs the help of its citizens to reboot after the pandemic has eased. What can you do to help reboot your community after the Covid-19 lockdown is over? It’s not going to be the same community you “left” a few weeks ago.

Some things have dramatically changed for the foreseeable future and may never get back to pre-pandemic days: travel, organized sports, voting, maybe (trend toward mail-in); school, large-crowd gatherings at business conventions, music concerts and festivals, maybe even political conventions; less driving to work, shop or visit.

At an individual level, more mask-wearing; less hand shaking, more hand washing; fewer spontaneous hugs; more Zoom and other videoconferencing meetings in both our business and personal lives; greater care and concern for others when coughing or sneezing.

But what can and should return to “normal” or be improved? Some people hopefully think that things could get better as a result of this pause in our lives. What could you do, personally, to make life better? Here are some suggestions:

  • Our lives have slowed down, let’s not rush back to our frantic pace. All too frequently, we’ve been in too big a hurry to be courteous, thoughtful or considerate.
  • Regain civility. Instead of cursing at or giving the finger to some someone who just cut you off, just give a friendly wave or simply chill out and go about your own business.
  • Respect the rules of the road, common sense and safety at four way stop signs and pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way.
  • At every opportunity, express appreciation to all the workers who’ve been going out there every day to provide essential services.
  • Be courteous in supermarket aisles and checkout lines. Be patient and take your turn. Apply the golden rule.
  • Restaurants have taken a huge hit. Maybe try to eat out a little more often, especially early in the week when restaurant traffic is lighter?
  • Make your neighborhood friendlier. Call, text, facetime, Skype, Zoom. Facilitate neighborhood niceness. If a neighbor reaches out to you, respond, don’t ignore them.
  • Get involved in your community. Go to city council meetings. Write your elected representatives. Become an active citizen.

What else can you do, or have you already done, to reboot your community? We’d love to hear and share your actions and ideas. Click on http://rebootyou/contactus to let us know what you think.