Community//

Little Stories of Hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Because I think we need them, right now.

A child's collage of birds and flowers.

In New Jersey, a newspaper delivery person has been bringing groceries and household products to local residents, free of charge. In a Missouri Walmart, a woman gave birth in a sparsely stocked toilet paper aisle with the help of store associates and a nearby labor nurse. Staff in a Cleveland clinic have been writing messages of hope on a window for their coronavirus patients, including, “We will get you home.” A patient, having recovered, penned the following reply on that same window (quoted via Cleveland Clinic):

“I watched you work hard to keep me and others alive, unable to thank you for the time that you poured into me — and although I will probably never get the chance to pour that same love and support into you, I want you to know that I think you all are rockstars.”

We all have different reactions to the news right now, and that’s totally understandable. But if you, like me, are drowning in quarantine and headlines, perhaps these stories from the here and now, will give you a little hope.

Ashley Lawrence, a student of education for the deaf and hard of hearing at Eastern Kentucky University, has been making masks for deaf folks and others who find it hard to hear. The masks, which she makes with her mom, contain a transparent band that shows the lips of the speaker, allowing for lip-reading.

“I felt like there was a huge population that was being looked over,” said Lawrence, quoted from this article at Lex18. “We’re all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of. So, I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication.” (Thanks to Kai Moore-Austin for sharing the link.)

Another story comes thanks to Andrea Pien, a 33-year-old college counselor from San Francisco, who has both the “privilege of a salaried job” and inherited wealth, posted a message to struggling neighbors, offering to send them $20, no questions asked. I found this story via Reader’s Digest, which says, “Pien is a member of Resource Generation, an organization of ‘young people with wealth’  who are ‘committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.'”

When Pien posted the message on Nextdoor, she included a picture of her dog, Gus, for the algorithm, to make sure that people saw the post in their feeds, and because a lot of neighbors recognize her dog who is “very large.”

Other stories I want to note feature a mom who is leaving free lunches outside for anyone who needs them; a professional runner, Rebecca Mehra, who shopped for seniors that were afraid to enter the supermarket; and mail carrier Kathleen Budzik who has been picking up food for those who can’t do so.

I’m so grateful to all those who have shared the above stories, and of course, in particular, to the wonderful people they feature. I encourage you to share hopeful stories that you’ve heard too, if it feels good to do so.

This is what I believe: We are amazing. It doesn’t always feel like we are, but it’s true. If there’s anything that this pandemic is teaching me, it’s that hope exists all around us — not only in the extraordinary bravery of those who are working in hospitals, in mail and package delivery, in supermarkets, in sanitation, and elsewhere, but also in the hearts of all of us who care, in both big and little ways, for others and ourselves.

Anais Nin said, “Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.”

There’s no time like the present for realizing that truth.

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Image: Divine in the Daily, via Creative Commons, with thanks.

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