Uplifting Stories in the Age of COVID-19
In an unprecedented time of worry and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, readers are being constantly inundated with stories of dismay. Social-distancing only exacerbates this issue, isolating everyone with little to do but pace the room reading headlines.
With grim statistics and anecdotes comes heightened anxiety, but it’s important to take a moment to recognize the remarkable humanity that emerges in a crisis like this. This week, we’re taking a page out of Mr. Rogers’ book by recognizing acts of kindness across Illinois: “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,'" he famously said.
We’re sharing stories that we think are a good representation of the altruism of Illinoisans during such a precarious time. We’d love to hear from YOU, our readers, about any positive encounters you’ve experienced or heard about in the past few weeks!
If you know of a friend, a colleague, or even a total stranger that is going out of their way to help others, please contact us to share their story. In doing this, our goal is to spread hope and spur others to take action in our communities as well.
1. Local moms and children leave a surprise for healthcare workers at Highland Park Hospital
While many are able to work from home during this crisis, healthcare workers must continue to go out into the world and battle a looming catastrophe. Despite being woefully undersupplied and overworked, they persist in their efforts. This past week, employees of Highland Park Hospital were touched by a surprise in the parking lot. On the windshield of each car in the lot was a rose left by members of the community.
NorthShoreWeb's Twitter account shared the following response: “A simple gesture can mean a thousand words! Local moms and children left a rose on every car in the Highland Park Hospital parking lot as a gesture to show staff appreciation. From all of us at NorthShoreWeb, thank you for this act of kindness! #Covid-19 #ThankfulThursday”
2. Undergraduate students in Orland Park create a free delivery service for senior citizens in the Southwest Suburbs
Senior citizens and immunocompromised people are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and many are hesitant to take the risk of shopping in crowded grocery stores. Several prominent grocery chains such as Mariano’s, Jewel-Osco, and Whole Foods have implemented special hours for seniors, but siblings Michael and Katelyn Arundel decided to take it a step further. After Illinois instituted the "stay-at-home" order, Michael Arundel set about finding a concrete way to be productive and help his community. He teamed up with his sister Katelyn and recruited a group of his friends to create the “Leave It To Us” program. The program offers a grocery and pharmacy delivery service to seniors in the southwest suburbs, and is entirely free of charge.
“I think our generation can lead by example, and we’re trying to spark interest in other communities around the Chicagoland area, and I think this is a great way to do it,” Michael told NBC 5.
3. Impromptu birthday party lifts spirits in Elgin
When 5 year old Olivia Grace Williamson’s birthday party was cancelled due to the social-distancing policy, her mother decided to recruit her neighbors to throw a drive-by parade instead. Around 200 neighbors, family members and friends drove by with balloons and signs for Olivia.
4. Babysitting site Sittercity gives free premium memberships to essential workers and creates a program to match them with childcare volunteers
Despite the stay-at-home order in place, Illinoisans that are employed in essential businesses are still required to go to work each day. This poses a challenge for those with school-aged children suddenly stuck at home due to cancellation of class. On Sunday, March 22nd, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a partnership with babysitting service Sittercity to try to ease the burden on workers. Sittercity is facilitating a program that gives essential workers 3 months of free premium access to their website. Additionally, they have created a portal that connects these workers with volunteer childcare service providers (who have passed a background check).
"As a company full of working parents and former sitters, we understand the challenges facing first responders with schools and daycares closed," said Elizabeth Harz, CEO of Sittercity. "By facilitating and managing the connections between families and caregivers, we are happy to do our part in supporting the work of the Chicagoans on the frontlines in the fight against this pandemic."
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