Being Kind and Spreading Hope in the Time of COVID-19

This week has been strange and unsettling!

At times, it’s felt anxiety-inducing and apocalyptic. Events are being cancelled and people are required to self-quarantine. Many are exhibiting unexpected hoarding behaviours out of a drive to survive the next weeks.

In many other ways though, it’s also brought hope and incredible acts of innovative community and support, like people in Vancouver’s West End cheering health workers from their balconies.

So what do we do within this mixture of hope, uncertainty, kindness, and fear?

We can, in many creative and nuanced ways, respond uniquely to our strange times with love. With cancellations and closures across Metro Vancouver, we can spread kindness beyond walls and help it come to life in the neighbourhoods around us. Already, we are seeing just how expansive and creative spreading hope can be during this time.

This weekend I saw kindness come alive in so many ways. I saw it in a Facebook group, called “COVID-19 Coming Together (Vancouver)”, where over 21,000 people across Metro Vancouver are posting ways that they can help others, such as picking necessities up for those who are homebound. And welcoming others to post what they’re in need of or requiring assistance with. 

I saw it in casual gatherings in parks, allowing safe distance from each other while remaining in each other’s presence.

And I saw it in the texts I received from friends, just checking in on UGM to make sure that the most vulnerable people in our community were taken care of.

In light of this, we thought we would offer you some ideas of how to be kind within your own community while we face these difficulties together:

  1. Support vulnerable populations
    Donate to charity. Right now meals, food hampers and safe spaces are desperately needed by those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
  2. Offer to help your neighbour
    Write a letter to 5+ neighbours letting them know that you are willing to help grocery shop or walk their dog if they are quarantined.
  3. Use technology for connection, not disconnection
    Schedule an intentional phone call or Facetime with someone that is quarantined or feeling isolated by canceled social events. Plan to play games, or eat meals together through Facetime or Zoom. Pro Tip: Not sure what to talk about? Ask what the first album they ever owned was. Or if they have ever had a pet.
  4. Let people know what you need
    You might be feeling anxious or are isolated by these circumstances. By letting people know that they can help you, you are creating a more open and honest community that helps to bring hope.
  5. And keep washing your hands and listening to health authorities
    If not for yourself, for the sake of others in the community with depleted immune systems or at risk of getting sick.

 

One of my colleagues once said that “everyone can do more than nothing”. I love this because in the shadow of a pandemic we can feel so small, like everything is out of our control. But if we each do more than nothing, that burden lightens. With each “more than nothing” act, sparks of light are made, fading that shadow, and bringing hope and light into our communities.

So my dear friends, as we settle into this unknown time, be the positive change, beyond the walls that we are familiar with. And make some sparks!

Written By: Kari Bergrud