“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
The words of Fred Rogers are still bringing us comfort, as they did when we were little.
Each day’s headlines are difficult to read—they’re certainly difficult for us to write—and we’re bracing as a community for what is predicted to be the deadliest phase of the COVID-19 emergency in the next week or so. Most likely, we’ll all soon know someone who’s had the illness. Even if we don’t, we’re all facing economic uncertainty and great disruptions in the routines that normally bring us comfort and security.
But it’s also impossible to ignore the countless acts of heroism, compassion, patience, generosity and creativity that the coronavirus has also brought. From the first responders and health care workers who put themselves at real risk every day so the rest of us can stay safe at home, to neighbors who deliver meals to friends in need, to teachers who look for creative ways to inspire students by video chat, bravery is all around us.
Our selectmen and town staff have risen to the challenge and provided leadership in unique ways, proving their adaptability and Yankee ingenuity. Our social service agencies are redoubling their efforts to meet new demands for service from people who find themselves in dire financial straits, perhaps for the first time ever. Monomoy Community Services, for instance, has hired a community advocate to help residents navigate the maze of government programs and regulations to get help in this dire time (thanks to generous donations from community members). Our churches are finding creative ways to provide hope and solace during the emergency. Even the tech community is pitching in, using expertise and 3D printers to manufacture protective gear for healthcare and emergency workers.
The good deeds taking place in our neighborhoods every day are simply too numerous to list, though we’ve started a “Doing Good” column to share some of the highlights. And these acts of kindness are more than a silver lining during a troubling time.
They are what will ultimately sustain us as a community.