(March 20, 2020 by Delaware Online Guest Columnist, Stu Comstock-Gay ) We’re all a little frightened, staying in our homes, worrying about retail and restaurant workers who aren’t being paid, and worrying even more about those who’ve contracted COVID-19. But there’s something deeply human happening in our communities.
Everywhere we turn, people are looking for ways to help others, and for ways to connect. Deep in all of us — even in this highly individualistic society — is the desire to be a community.
Stuart Comstock-Gay is president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation. (Photo: Courtesy of the Delaware Community Foundation)
This current state of social distancing makes us all feel a little less human. It’s a hard thing to do — changing our lives for a greater good. But people are making that sacrifice. That willingness to sacrifice is, in and of itself, an act of generosity to others.
And people are seeking more direct ways to be generous, too.
Neighbors are offering free babysitting for those who must work, helping with grocery shopping and errands for those in high-risk groups, checking in on neighbors who live alone.
On Facebook, NextDoor and other social media platforms, people are launching mini campaigns to support suffering small businesses, advocating for takeout from local restaurants, and donating to artists whose gigs have been canceled.
Musicians are streaming live performances. Fitness experts are streaming free classes.
Restaurants are giving free meals to children. Many continue to pay employees when it’s impossible to work. Xfinity even made wifi hotspots free.
Others are contributing to organizations helping do good work — to the Food Bank, or the YMCA, or many others.
This pandemic has also prompted us in the nonprofit community to recommit to working together. Through a new collaboration of the Delaware Community Foundation, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, Philanthropy Delaware and the United Way of Delaware, two new charitable funds have been established to pool resources from foundations, corporations, and individuals coordinate how they are allocated to responding nonprofits.
For those who want to provide time, volunteer opportunities are available through the 211 website, and through some nonprofits.
For our own individual well being, and for the well being of our community, we all need to dive in, to connect, care and contribute.
And while we are at it, there’s another opportunity.
In the coming months, as the COVID-19 scare dies down, we need to hold on to those instincts to help and connect. Many people will still be struggling with lost jobs and financial stress.
And there are already far too many people who struggling every day, and every week and every month … those who have fewer opportunities for a good education, or a good job, or a healthy life.
Can we commit now to maintain this overflowing of good will in the future?
And, finally, when we get ready to vote next fall, let’s remember who we are as a community today — these caring and connecting human beings. Let’s reject the divisiveness of recent years and seek political solutions to build a stronger future for all.
Delawareans are stepping up — by staying inside and by reaching out in creative ways — to end the spread of this disease and ensure that our communities can thrive again.
If we do it right — if we lean into our shared humanity and hold onto that connectedness — we will all come out on the other side as a stronger society.
Stuart Comstock-Gay is president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation. Learn more about the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative at delcf.org/coronavirus.
Original post on Delaware Online.