Sometimes it takes a global catastrophe to reveal stories of real kindness, bravery, selflessness, and hope. While the global coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on everyone the world over, there are plenty of places where people have risen to the occasion, meeting this unprecedented challenge head on with warmth and compassion.
In times like these, where every single thing is tinted with uncertainty, these stories of human connection can help keep us going; they can help us get through the toughest days and focus on the good.
Let’s shine a light on a few instances in which the coronavirus pandemic has truly brought out the best in people.
- Reaching Out Across Space
With limited access to in-person visits, the pandemic has made most of us turn to social media and digital video conferencing formats for socializing. While in some cases this has lead to feelings of more isolation, many people have tried to embrace the new mode and reach out across great geographical distances to check in with distant family and friends.
In normal times, grandchildren may not have considered checking in on their faraway grandparents. Now, with all social interactions taking place over the internet, they are able to easily contact elder relatives they may not have seen otherwise. Thousands of people have volunteered to join local community support groups, that provide assistance to those more vulnerable and in need. Younger, less vulnerable volunteers are able to do tasks like grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions for elderly people. And in the United Kingdom, for example, nearly 750,000 people signed up to volunteer for the National Health Service– responding to (and completely exceeding) the government’s request for 250,000 helpers.
Even in person, in cities across the United States, Italy, Israel, and other countries, neighbors who may never have spoken with each other before have joined forces to create socially distanced gatherings. From their balconies and patios, communities of neighbors have come together in song to provide some inspiring musical relief from the endless days of lockdown. Some neighborhoods even join together with instruments, creating a socially distanced orchestra, a free gift for the entire community to enjoy.
- Hardworking Essential Workers
We absolutely must applaud the bravery of all the essential workers who continue to selflessly and diligently provide for people’s health and wellbeing as the pandemic continues. These extraordinary people display immense courage daily as they brave the front lines of this pandemic in order to help heal the sick, make people’s lives more comfortable, and continue an infrastructure to allow us to access our basic needs.
And in some places, people do. Applaud, that is. At appointed times, in cities around the world, people stand on their balconies and rooftops, lean out of windows, and clap for the hospital workers returning home from their day shift, or embarking for their evening shift to begin. Some people bang pots and pans, others toot horns. This cacophony is one small way for people to come together and show their support for the people working so hard on the front lines.
Plus, the pandemic has sparked recognition of just how essential certain workers are: from supermarket cashiers to postal service workers, from Amazon warehouse packers to shelf stackers and delivery drivers, plenty of employees whose positions are often ignored are now rightfully being considered as heroes. With most of us stuck at home, these workers have been putting themselves at risk to provide us remote access to food and retail.
- Donations and Resources
With thousands made unemployed, homeless, and unable to access resources in light of the recent economic effects of the pandemic, individuals and businesses have stepped up to help out.
From huge companies to small local companies, businesses have donated millions of dollars to support relief efforts targeting homelessness, hunger, and unemployment. Neighbors have hosted socially distanced food drives to gather supplies to offer to homeless shelters or even individuals on the street.
Public spaces have opened up resources to allow people to work or find information. Libraries have created free internet hotspots in person for people who may not have access to the web at home. And they have created endless free content available online, from educational materials for at home learning to helpful tools for keeping families entertained at home.
In fact, many institutions, both public and private, have opened up their collections and archives- collections of art, cultural landmarks, historical texts, literature, music, movies, and more- so that people can access them at home, all for free. Businesses and individuals in every sector are playing their part to help offer generously, and without regard for payment, in this time of global strife.
- Giving Without Expectation
This shared global hardship has exposed us to our shared humanity, and allowed us a window into the lives of others less fortunate, and more vulnerable, than ourselves. But instead of succumbing to selfishness or despair, this situation has compelled many people to give selflessly.
It has encouraged people to fortify their connections with others, and create new connections with strangers. It has made people realize just how much they have to be grateful for- and how gratitude can truly change your life.
Although there have also been plenty of actions driven by fear, the silver lining of the pandemic is that it has revealed to people the beauty of giving without expectation of receiving anything in return. And it has opened people up to the fact that by working together, we can help makes the lives of other people better.