Posted March 17, 2020
Today we are humbled by the love in our big little Emerald City – a love as boisterous as the Pike Place Market used to be just a few weeks ago…as palpable as the laughter and chatter once heard in the busy downtown restaurants, now only open for takeout. Today, this love glints off the digital airwaves like the sun sparkling on the Puget Sound as we shift our connections online rather than in-line at our neighborhood coffee shops.
This new virtual love is felt in the messages of hope, charity, empathy, and care posted on social channels and community blogs. It’s seen in the memes, gifs, and TikTok videos shared between kids who miss their classmates more than their classes. But it’s not all virtual – this love is tangible in the bags of food dropped off at local food pantries and online orders from favorite local shops to keep them afloat. It is felt in the deliveries of books and art supplies to nursing homes and in the schools filled with teachers volunteering to provide childcare for first responders and hot lunch for the children who need it most. It is perhaps most present in the small business owners who are doing all they can to take care of their employees even as they are barely getting by.
As we work through these new challenges as a community, making hard choices, individually and together, shifting the way we live, work, communicate, shop, gather and share – we beg you – do not wait to change the way you are living in your city. Do not be afraid, do not lose hope, but do not wait to change your habits and behaviors. We’ve all seen the charts and maps. We are all watching the death tolls climb higher and higher. We are all worried about our mothers and fathers, grandparents and those most susceptible to this virus. Your immediate action will save the life of someone who matters…and it will save the lives of the many who love that person and would be forever changed without them.
Communities are built to be resilient and times like these are when we get to flex the muscle of our shared hopes and neighborly spirit to show off just how powerful those things can be when all else fails. With this in mind, we have a few tips for you as the shutdowns and social distancing start to drastically affect your daily lives.
- Don’t buy all the toilet paper in the store. Or all the hand sanitizer or the chicken, or the baby wipes, and especially not the baby formula. Stores are continuing to restock. Be kind to your neighbors even if it means you must make another trip to the store next week. Please, leave some for others. Food is what should connect us, not divide us. I repeat – you do not need ALL the chicken!
- Good food is a salve for a weary soul. If your favorite restaurants are offering pick-up, take them up on it. This is an incredibly stressful time for all small businesses, like restaurants, trying to stay open and running so they can keep people employed. Use some of your extra time at home to cook special meals for yourself or your loved ones. Nourishment is one of the most important ways to keep everyone healthy! Go for the hearty veggies – kale, peppers, cabbage, green beans – things that will last at least a week. And if your neighbor shops at the same grocery store, take turns going for each other and use Venmo.com to repay one another so only one of you has to make the trip each week.
- Reach out – this can be a stressful and scary time. Call your mom. FaceTime your friends so you don’t feel isolated. Sign up on NextDoor.com and connect with your neighbor to get daily updates on locals who may need your help. Share photos of your nature walks to remind others that social distancing can be quite fulfilling. Host a dinner date with friends over a video chat. Technology is an incredible way to connect to the people and things you need most in situations like this – from ordering groceries online to distance learning for kids, the possibilities are endless with the technology available today.
- Don’t share misinformation, don’t spread fear or panic, don’t shame others for handling things differently than you. Approach each situation with as much empathy as you can. These are new times for all of us and all we can do is our best.
- Be kind. We are all in this together. Actually – all the other bullets here could be summed up with this one. Just be kind to each other and we will get through this.
As this virus continues to make its way across the country and around the world, please know this; Seattle is rooting for you. As the epicenter of this pandemic in the U.S., we Seattleites hope you can use us as an example of what to do – and in many cases what not to do – so that you are one step ahead. And no matter what, please remember, don’t wait. The time is now.
And finally, though it goes without saying, don’t forget to wash your hands. Someone’s life depends on it.
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