The doom and gloom of the COVID-19 coronavirus is scary, depressing, and a dangerous reality. We are living in a sci-fi novel, except it’s nonfiction and the end is not written yet. The tentacles of economic fallout are just beginning.
We are in a serious crisis, in battle against an unseen enemy that does not discriminate. But we are in this together. Creativity and positivity are needed more than ever. In my brainstorming, here are some ideas to come together as a community and face this crisis together. I can’t save the world, but we each have the power of ONE.
Donate any dollar amount possible to your nearby food bank. If your income remains stable, consider an ongoing monthly donation, however small or generous, to help them weather this crisis. They know how to stretch a buck, and already face an unprecedented onslaught of demand that will only get worse.
Share some of your toilet paper stash with the shelter of your choice. Ditto for soap, sanitizer, and everything else you consider essential. It’s essential for them too. Call ahead for drop-off instructions.
Kindness is not canceled. In a crowded checkout line, let someone go in front of you. Bake cookies for a neighbor. Check on a shut-in or quarantined neighbor and offer to shop for them.
Call someone instead of texting. It’s more human, at a time we all need the connection with others more than ever. Video chat is also good, with whatever technology or app you prefer. If you haven’t heard from someone, call to check on them.
Kids home from school? “Home school” can have a different meaning. Teach them life skills like how to cook, sew a button on, balance a budget, or the strategy of a chess game. Practice cursive writing (see next item.) Feeling scientific? Check out NASA.gov – TV for adults, activities for kids.
Write a letter. Seniors like my eighty-six-year-old father-in-law never learned to use a computer and are shut off from an internet world. Not everyone can or will text, email, or go online for news and social media. A hand-written note at any time is treasured.
Order takeout from your local restaurants. Our local businesses desperately need our support. There is a family restaurant my book club meets at once a month. Ditto for my local pizza restaurant, breakfast hangout, and happy hour location. I want to think they will still be open when the danger wanes. Family businesses are the backbone of this country.
Buy books and gifts online from your indie bookstore instead of Amazon. Go ahead, even if it costs a bit more. Amazon will survive. Conversely, storefront businesses like indie bookstores and family restaurants may not. Don’t know one in your area? Check out Indiebound.org.
In a plug for my local indie, Changing Hands Bookstore, they now offer book “care packages” online. Brilliant. Treat yourself and order one here. Available for adults and kids.
Buy gift cards from your favorite businesses. I’ve seen a plea from several local businesses for support. One request is to purchase gift cards online to use when they reopen. It’s called needed cash flow and community support.
Take a Break
Art is not canceled. Visit fabulous museums online. This is good for anyone, and also for anyone at home with kids. I’ll include links below.
Exercise is not canceled. Get outside and get fresh air. Right now, home quarantine still allows for getting out and walking, biking, and hiking, as long as you keep your social distance from others and their pets. It can also be necessary “alone” time with everyone at home in close quarters. Follow all health department guidelines on this one. The information changes daily. Please stay home if infected.
Take a respite from the news. Watch a comedy or stream a favorite movie. Need I say more?
Read. Support an author. Buy their books. Check out a copy from your library’s digital library. Dig through your to-be-read stack of books. If you liked the book, purchase a copy online as an unexpected “quarantine” gift for someone.
In a move of shameless self-promotion, here are the links for HENRY. It’s available in hardback, paperback and ebook. And……yes, I’m excited to say an audio book is under production. More on that later.
My heart goes out to closed businesses, folks out of work, and anyone touched by this insidious virus. I salute the healthcare workers, emergency responders, and in some cases the National Guard, who are on the front lines of COVID-19. Thank you for what you do.
For everyone, stay well, stay connected, stay in touch. Remember the power of one person at a time.
A sample of free online resources to explore
And, for a complete list – Google Arts and Culture compiled a list of all world museums free online. One person termed this as 2,500 places. I haven’t fact-checked that number. But it’s a lot.
Public library websites – all have tons of free info available online. Check yours out. For example, the Phoenix Public Library has a section of resources for “Kids at Home.”