In the midst of global pandemic, business shutdown, economic crisis and uncertainty we have found ourselves crippled with fear and anxiety. But while many are in a state of gloom and doom, there is a silver lining to what has taken place due in the wake of Covid-19.
Kindness has taken a jump in popularity. It has been showing itself in many forms. We have witnessed businesses supporting other businesses with gifts of flowers, coffee and other items as a way to say “keep up the good work”. Parents are now overly grateful for teachers, and many have expressed their appreciation for the work our educators take on in teaching our children. Front line workers have been awarded with meals and F-15 fly overs as gesture of gratitude for putting themselves in harms way to keep our community healthy. Many locals have told stories about being the recipient of the “pay it forward” trend at the grocery shop or drive through window. And the residents at many of our senior living facilities have received random cards and letters from strangers, just letting them know that someone out there is thinking of them.
We have also seen a growth in community support and people coming together whether they are friends or complete strangers. Neighbors helping neighbors with yardwork, shopping trips and supplies. The “Prineville Volunteer Network” group on Facebook matched up locals in need with residents that had the time, money and energy to fill their needs. Diapers were purchased, face masks were made and errands were ran all because a group of individuals volunteered their time. The Prineville Task Force – a combination of multiple City, County and community leaders – came together to help create a fund to support our local businesses in financial need. Over $240,000 was donated and disbursed to Crook County businesses, contractors and sole proprietors.
The patience and grace extended to our local business that are challenged to not be able to operate as they were able to prior to Covid-19 has also been extremely appreciated. Restaurants are unable to seat at full capacity, stores are running short on supplies, and businesses have had to close to the public, or adjust their hours. Face masks, plastic gloves and social distancing are terms that were foreign outside of medical facilities, but are now a part of our everyday lives. As badly as we all want life to go “back to normal”, we must realize we are in the midst of discovering our new normal and taking practices to keep each other safe. Understanding and empathy is more important now than ever.
We may not be able to give physical hugs, but the support we have seen given in town will have a much longer effect than a hug. Simple acts of kindness will go a long way, especially in a time when so many are in need of assistance and searching for optimism. And it goes both ways — making these connections with your community can help you feel less alone and more supported. Now is the time to reach out and build a community we can all rely on.
We challenge you to embrace the challenge of extending kindness and step forward to help as you can. So flash a smile, send a card, pay it forward, have some patience and let’s get through this together.