Just a few days ago, I was full of anxiety, fear and gloom, anxiously awaiting the announcement of every newly diagnosed case of coronavirus. I just couldn’t make sense of what tomorrow— let alone the unforeseeable future — would look like for me and my children. It was all too much to handle. Then I stumbled upon this quote from Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” So that’s what I decided to do.
And boy, did I find them! I found both helpers and helpees, and each seemed to have a message for how I could help others and, in the process, help myself. If you are wondering how to you can make a difference in this time of need, take a cue from the local heroes I found all across the United States in my search for kindness.
Stop and Smell the Roses
“I was at Trader Joe’s purchasing supplies that would enable me to quarantine myself for a couple of weeks. I was at the cashier’s stand about to pay, when a staff member (with a cheerful attitude), walked by with a trolley full of flowers. He said, ‘We want you to be healthy, please stay safe and have these flowers.’ He handed me some and also gave flowers to a number of other shoppers who were all lining up to pay.” -Regupathi Angappan, 25, Towson, MD
Deliver the Goods
“My neighbor, a young man who served our county, was so kind and brought us an entire box of N-95 masks, along with our favorite wine. Now there’s the way to ease the suffering of Coronavirus isolation!” -Taffy, 57 Manor, TX
Perform a Secret Act of Kindness
“I was very stressed out one day and tried to mow the lawn but the lawn mower wouldn’t work. I gave up in a dramatic huff and sat on my stoop and stared at the lawn mower for a while. Not my finest moment. Then me and my kids left for about two hours. When I got home, I pulled up to a freshly mowed and landscaped house, weeds and all! Someone saw me in my not-finest moment and decided to help me out on the sneak! It can be hard to recognize this at the time, I am extraordinarily blessed with people who quietly and very subtly help me on a day to day basis. People are awesome sometimes!” -Jackie, 37 East Rockaway, NY
Shop Small Businesses
“I noticed my hand soap was getting low and thought about logging into Amazon for my usual purchase. Then randomly, I thought of how I would like to help a small business that will probably have to close their doors to the public (if not already closed)! I remembered a cute, little shop that I bought an amazing scented bar of soap at in Burbank, California. I picked out two scents of pump soap and completed my order and within moments I had an email from the owner saying ‘thank you so much! You were my only order today and I am so grateful.’ That made me feel really good about my decision to shop small.” -Janis, 62 Newington, CT
Organize Something Outside
“Someone in our local moms’ group on Facebook posted an invitation for all neighborhood families to participate in a Shamrock Scavenger Hunt on St. Patrick’s Day! Neighbors were encouraged to place a green shamrock (made from anything you can find around the house) on their front door. Families could then walk the neighborhood on March 17th on a hunt for shamrocks to see how many could they find! It was a great and creative way to get the kids outdoors, build community, and stay healthy and safe.” -Jess, 43 Simsbury, CT
Spare a Square
“I am literally the one person who did NOT stock up on toilet paper. And when I finally did make an online Amazon purchase, I ordered paper towels by mistake! Imagine my dismay when the entire state was experiencing a severe toilet paper shortage and my toilet paper order never arrived! But, guess what? My mother was kind enough to trade me one case of paper towels for one case of toilet paper! Mom to the rescue for the 1,320,346, 002th time!” -Suzanne, 41 Simsbury, CT.
Deliver a Care Package
“There are many elderly and vulnerable people going without essentials because of people panic-buying! I made up some little packs for a few people I know which include: one roll of toilet paper, a pack of tissues, two lemsips, a bar of soap, vitamins and a pack of cough drops. A little kindness goes a long way.” -Jo, 45 Douglas, Isle of Man
Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
“The week of 3/9 began normally for our dessert bar catering company. Two days before St. Patrick’s Day, a themed corporate party, which would have been the biggest in our 12-year history, cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus. This created an uneaten overflow of over 1,000 chocolate shamrock cookies, marshmallow leprechaun hats, and green chocolate covered pretzels. Rather than let this tasty inventory go to waste, we donated it all to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Lyons, NJ. Despite the devastating impact on our business that has been caused by COVID-19, we were happy to share our creations with the vets and bring joy where we could.” -Lindsay Keogh Smith, The Dessert Ladies
I looked for the helpers and I found so many, big and small, of all ages, genders and races because good is all around us — even in the worst of times. Look for the good all around you, friends. And when times get tough, look harder because when you find it, it will be that much sweeter!