I have been quarantined for eight weeks now in my home in Massachusetts during the 2020 COVID-19 world-wide pandemic. For me, this means taking care of two children under five without the support of their school systems, babysitter, and our house cleaner. Like many parents, I am now home-school teacher, home chef, and house cleaner. I teach collaboration, responsibility, respect, and kindness around the clock. An opportunity to write on my blog hasn’t yet been possible, but with warm weather today I can squeeze in some musings on philanthropy.
I’ve been quite impressed with the generosity shown to each other, as I think we all have noticed. YouTube videos are making the rounds on how we are thanking those on the front lines in our healthcare system by having military jet fly-overs in hard-hit cities, singing songs on balconies during shift changes, buying restaurant meals delivered to hospitals, making cloth masks and gowns since there are shortages of medical-grade protective wear. The phrase “together apart” is so appropriate right now. Below are some ways my fellow man has inspired me during this uncertain time.
I’ve seen individuals pool their resources to send $1,500 to a local gym employee who hasn’t yet received her unemployment checks. I’ve seen anonymous people drop off diapers at a new mom’s house. I’ve seen children and adults painting rocks for others to find on local trails to bring a simple smile during this lonely and uncertain time. I’ve seen people put a box of hand-sown face masks on their front porch that is free for the taking. I’ve seen people offer strangers to go out for them to reduce exposure through a trip to the grocery store. These are all examples that have occurred in my own town that I have seen on social media.
Our society as a whole is supporting each other. I’ve been impressed with our local, regional, and national organizations who have rallied around our communities. I’ve seen schools continue to distribute their meals to the district’s students, which includes 14 meals for the week. I’ve seen the government step-up and provide financial assistance to businesses, individuals, and industries. Local businesses have been flexible on their refund policies. And, nonprofits are working tirelessly to increase their services to meet new demands.
I’ve felt my own inner circle come together for me. My friend picked me up a dozen eggs from the store so I didn’t have to go out for a short trip. A neighbor gave us face masks for my sons to protect them from exposure. A friend gave us some extra children’s scissors so we could do art projects safely. My son’s friend collects pine cones when she is on walks in the woods so we can add it to our bug hotel. My son’s church teachers sent a package for Easter with fun activities.
We stepped-up our generosity to loved ones and strangers, too. We donated to a local charity, which I know will use our small funds judiciously and wisely. We painted rocks for other children to find in the forest. We sent our artwork in the mail to our grandparents who miss us so much. We sang songs to our neighborhood grandma to cheer her up as well as wish her a Happy Easter with sidewalk chalk drawings. My sons and I also painted sidewalk chalk at a friend’s house who is a nurse and we drew hearts and rainbows and thanked her as our hero. We delivered unused toys to two friends who are single moms. And, we celebrate children’s birthdays who can’t have a party through beeping our horns in birthday parades with local residents, police, and firefighters.
Re-reading this article, I’m glad I’m writing this down; I don’t want to forget this. I don’t want our life to go back to normal. The societal and personal importance and reward of these small acts of kindness I have been writing about on this blog for the last five years. Now, it’s clear we are all on the same page: small acts of kindness make a big difference. This is an opportunity for us to continue to be generous to everyone who crosses our path. This is an opportunity for all of us to call ourselves philanthropists—lovers of mankind.
How have you increased your giving? How have others stepped-up for you? How can we continue this after the pandemic is a distant memory?