Wow … I have been writing a lot lately about the dark side of human behaviour in this time of pandemic crisis, but tonight when I pulled up my first resource in search of good people, I realized there is a whole ‘nother side! Many, many people are doing things to help one another these days. Some famous people, such as the heads of companies like Lowes and Carnival, and entertainers like Rihanna have done some wonderful things to help others, but for this post I am going only with the everyday people who have stepped up to the plate to help their fellow humans. I find that I can relate more to the ones who don’t have anything more than you and I, who aren’t billionaires or millionaires, but just people with good hearts. Now, grab your box of tissues and read on …
Helping seniors ‘stay in touch’ …
Most nursing homes in countries all ‘round the globe have banned visitors, fearing they could bring in the coronavirus and wipe out the entire population of oldsters within a week. Understandable, but still … imagine you are 80 years old, stuck in a nursing home and nobody comes to visit. For some, they will not live to see their families ever again. Enter Jill Ashworth Valadao and Sarah Otis Firth, two young women in Massachusetts who saw a need, rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Firth was browsing Facebook when she came across a heartbreaking picture of an adult daughter standing outside the window of her mother’s room at a nursing home, holding a white board as her only means of communication.
“I thought these poor people in the nursing homes; they’re so scared and isolated. I wish I could get a bunch of iPads to give to them.”
She talked to her friend Jill about starting a fundraiser together to buy iPads for nursing homes so the residents could use FaceTime to chat with family and friends, and they agreed to see what they could do. They created the Facebook fundraiser page “FaceTime for Nana” on March 17 with a goal of $300, enough to purchase one iPad.
Four days later, Firth and Valadao had raised nearly $5,000, enough for 16 iPads! The first three iPads were carefully delivered by Firth and Valadao Friday morning to Autumn Glen’s memory unit in Dartmouth and Alden Court Nursing Care and Royal of Fairhaven Nursing Center in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.Later that day Firth got a message from Alden Court activity director Sharon Jensen thanking them on behalf of the residents and staff for the new iPad.
The message read:
“During such a difficult time, these sweet gestures literally make the residents days. Yesterday more than 75 face time calls were made to families at Alden. This process has kept our families connected and reassured that their loved one is safe and content. The residents get a kick out of the technology and share a few laughs/smiles when they see their loved one on the ipad.
Our goal is to find positive things to keep the resident spirits up and this is one of the many good things happening. Today, the residents and the staff will be receiving performances from local young performers donating their time and their talents to present mini concerts for the residents VIA FACE TIME. The Ipad gift was a blessing today. So thank you Sarah for thinking of Alden Court.”
Valadao said she loves to see the positive come out of a negative situation.
“I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Our society needed to slow down and be reminded of what matters. So when you’re feeling angry with the situation stop and look for the good that is coming out of all of this. There’s a lot of good.”
And I think that is a piece of advice that we should all listen to, myself included.
Bryan Morin owns a small pizzeria, Federico’s Pizza & Restaurant, in New Jersey. He does a decent business, but like most small business owners, he isn’t made of money. When New Jersey governor Phil Murphy ordered that restaurants close their dining rooms, Bryan headed straight to the bank and took out a $50,000 loan. No, not to tide him over and not to take a vacation …
Bryan wasn’t even thinking of his own lost revenue, but when he returned to the restaurant, Morin announced to his 20 employees that, at least for the next two months, they would receive their regular paychecks. Morin says he is hoping that by summer, the bans will be lifted and tourists will return to the Jersey shore, but meanwhile, he’s taking care of his employees.
“My father told us a long time ago: You’ve got to take care of your employees first, because without those employees, you don’t have a business at all. I definitely owe them a debt — even if it means I might go into debt.”
Nathan Nichols, of South Portland, Maine, owns a couple of rental properties. Both properties are rented by hourly and service workers who are currently laid off due to the pandemic crisis. He posted on Facebook about two weeks ago …
“Because I have the good fortune and of being able to afford it and the privilege of being in the owner class, I just let them know I would not be collecting rent in April. I ask any other landlords out there to take a serious look at your own situation and consider giving your tenants some rent relief as well.”
At least one other landlord has committed to doing the same …
However, he made a follow-up post a few days later to clarify …
“Every so often, however, there is a comment from a landlord who would like to help their tenants, but simply can’t, or from a tenant who wishes their landlord would help them, but doubts they will. To these people, I say: I don’t know your situation and I don’t want to imply that a landlord who isn’t forgoing rent is somehow a bad person.”
Little Free Libraries … housing toilet paper???
Do you guys remember in October 2018 when I wrote about the death of Todd Bol, the man who created Little Free Libraries? Yeah, I know … I can’t remember yesterday, either. Anyway, Mr. Bol created a system of tiny little wooden structures where people can exchange books. It caught on, and now there are some 75,000 Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 88 countries! Well, now with many people struggling to pay the rent and buy food, let alone able to find a roll of toilet paper to buy, some of the Little Free Libraries are being partly converted to Little Free Pantries! Pantries from Vancouver, Canada to Arlington, Massachusetts are now filled with toilet paper, canned goods, books, hand sanitizer, and toiletries. Said one lady from Minnesota …
“My kids have invested a lot of time into just making sure there’s stuff up there. The experience for them being able to be a part of something that gives back. That’s really cool.”
And lest you are concerned about germs and safety, local pantry caretakers are reminding visitors to wash their hands and sanitize the pantry door handles before handling its contents.
Well, folks, I came across many stories like these. They balance out the ones we’ve been hearing about hoarders, and people stealing others’ packages off their doorsteps. I was lucky last week when on two occasions an opportunity to be a good people, albeit in a very small way presented itself, and I have to tell you, it felt good, made me want to find another such opportunity. How ‘bout we all try to find just one such in the coming week … help someone load their groceries, offer to pick up a few things at the store for a neighbor, even just a kind smile and a “how are you?” to people you pass in the grocery store. “Social distancing” doesn’t mean we can’t help one another in some small ways.