There’s no doubt it’s been challenging since COVID-19 began. Employees are getting laid off, companies are going out of business, and no one knows when we’ll be able to safely eat at a restaurant again.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative headlines. I’m certainly guilty of scrolling through the news longer than I should these days. While I believe it’s important to stay informed, sometimes the constant negativity can be a bit disheartening.
With all the craziness going on, there are some beautiful, heart warming, feel-good stories that have come out of all this. The kind of stories that make you smile and think, maybe the world isn’t so bad after all.
I like to focus on the positives. I think in many ways this situation is offering us a new perspective where we recognize what is truly important, we value our relationships more, we’ve become more neighborly, we don’t take things for granted as much, and we’re using this time to reevaluate some of our life choices such as our careers, our health, and pursuing our passions.
So, if you need a break from this dismal reality we’re all facing, check out these stories of humanity totally redeeming itself amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because really, we’re all in this together.
1. Alcohol Companies Making Hand Sanitizer
Stores started running out of hand sanitizer sometime in early March. It was around this time that the pandemic panic started to set in and the hoarding of supplies, including hand sanitizer, was in full swing.
Thus, The Great Hand Sanitizer Shortage of 2020 began.
People started hoarding supplies for themselves, or they would try to sell them online at a much higher price than usual. Standard-sized bottles of hand sanitizer were going for as much as $184 on Amazon.
Then, recipes started circulating the internet on how to make your own hand sanitizer using rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and essential oils. This was shortly followed by Health Canada announcing you should not, in fact, try to make your own hand sanitizer at home.
People were desperate for hand sanitizer.
Distilleries answered the call.
Seemingly overnight, distilleries across North America began making hand sanitizer in lieu of their usual alcoholic beverages. It made sense, as they already had ethanol on hand in the right concentrations. They then started selling the sanitizer to the public, as well as construction companies, nurses, and health care workers at cost.
Some even started giving it out for free to those who need it the most.
If your local drug store is all sold out of hand sanitizer, reach out to your local distilleries and see what they have. You’ll be supporting local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic when you do.
2. Stores Offering Earlier Shopping Times for Those Most Vulnerable
Some people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others including seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and those with underlying health conditions. When going out into the public, they need to be extra cautious.
Even a simple trip to the grocery store becomes a challenge. Some companies, such as Costco, are also allowing healthcare workers to jump to the head of the line to enter their stores.
As a way to support these individuals, stores began offering dedicated shopping times just for them. Shopper’s Drug Mart, Loblaws grocery stores, Whole Foods, Walmart, and Costco all have hours dedicated specifically to seniors and vulnerable individuals, typically the first hour of the day.
This is helpful for a few different reasons
- It ensures that stores are significantly less busy than at other times. This makes it easier to practice social distancing and lowers the risk of transmitting the virus.
- It creates a comfortable shopping environment with well-stocked shelves.
- Shopping first thing in the morning means everything has been freshly cleaned and sterilized so there’s a lower risk of transmission.
It’s nice to see stores stepping up to protect vulnerable members of our community.
3. Clapping at 7pm for Healthcare Workers
It began in Wuhan, China sometime in January. People gathered on their balconies in the evening to cheer on the healthcare workers on the front line of fighting COVID-19.
With the help of social media, and with more and more countries going into lockdown, the trend soon spread across the globe. Couples, families, and individuals would emerge from isolation and come out onto their balconies for a few minutes each evening to show their appreciation.
Three months later, and we still go out on our balconies every night at 7 pm to clap, cheer, and bang pots for healthcare workers here in Vancouver, BC.
Not only does it provide a small sense of community during these isolating times, it’s also a small and safe way to show how much we appreciate those who are risking their lives to keep us healthy and safe.
Thank you, frontline workers. We hope you hear our cheers.
4. People Making Masks
Much like hand sanitizer, masks are a hot commodity. Unlike hand sanitizers, their use has been a bit more controversial.
Medical face masks began selling out in stores as early as February, as concerns over COVID-19 grew. Soon, it became near
This of course led to price gouging, hoarding, and other unethical and unfair practices as people scrambled to protect themselves. It also resulted in a shortage of supplies for healthcare workers, leading to unsafe practices like reusing face masks, something that workers are continuing to struggle with to this day.
Then there was the issue of whether you should wear a face mask at all, with experts first saying you didn’t need to wear one unless you were sick. Now, Health Canada has recently announced that everyone should be wearing a mask in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic individuals.
So, we definitely do need masks. And there definitely aren’t enough of them.
Insert a lot of really cool people making masks.
People came together in creative ways to solve the medical supply shortage and its pretty awesome to see. Some people are hand sewing masks and distributing them for free.
Others are 3D printing medical supplies and distributing them to hospitals, free of charge.
But that’s not all.
5. Companies Making Masks
Much like how distilleries are using their resources to lend a hand in this time of need, other companies are doing the same.
New Balance has halted sneaker production in order to start making face masks. Using their resources, including fabric, equipment, and manufacturing facilities, they’re looking to make 100,000 masks that can be used by front-line workers across the US.
Fruit of the Loom has started making masks, as has Nordstrom, Hanes, and Brooks Brothers. Any manufacturer or company that has the resources to do so is stepping up to the plate to solve the crisis of the medical supply shortage in North America.
Hopefully, with the help of these heavy hitters, we’ll be able to keep ourselves, as well as our frontline workers safe and healthy during the duration of the pandemic.
6. Landlords Waiving Rent for a Month
With unemployment skyrocketing and millions of people out of a job, there’s a lot of uncertainty around monthly bills and rent payments.
In BC, evictions have been restricted for the next four months, rent increases are frozen, and individuals needing support can get up to $500 a month towards their rent. All of this is incredibly helpful, but it’s not always enough during these tough times.
That’s why some landlords have taken it upon themselves to bend the rules a bit. One landlord in New York city waived rent for the month of April for every one of his 80 apartment buildings. Though he was losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said that the wellbeing of his tenants was more important.
One commercial property landlord in Quebec is deferring rent payment for some of their hardest hit tenants, stores like fashion and other specialty retailers that haven’t been able to operate due to COVID-19.
That’s 18 malls and hundreds of stores that will be relieved of rent payments for the time being.
We all can’t be so lucky, but it does warm your heart knowing that some landlords are trying to work with their tenants under these unusual circumstances. No one should be forced out of their home right now.
7. Food Establishments Donating Food to Health Workers
In honor of National Burrito Day and World Health Worker Day, Chipotle gave away over 100,000 burritos to health
They’re just one of the many food establishments that have gone the extra mile and donated food to support healthcare staff working long hours and stressful shifts to fight COVID-19.
Body Energy Club is offering free smoothies to health
Local Vancouver companies Chickpea and The Juice Truck have also made food donations to hospitals across the lower mainland to help feed those fighting on the front lines.
Seeing food establishments step up and give back, despite some struggling themselves, is truly heart-warming and inspiring. If you’d like to be a part of the movement, reach out to local restaurants in your community to donate towards their free food for health
8. Companies Helping to Feed Kids
Food establishments and companies have also stepped up to offer free food to those who need it during COVID-19, especially children.
Many children from low-income families rely heavily on subsidized school lunch programs to eat during the day. With schools being closed due to COVID-19, millions of kids across North America risk becoming malnourished.
That’s why Save-On-Foods launched the Toonies for Tummies program to raise money to feed children in Canada. They’ve pledged to donate 1 million dollars to help feed kids in Canada who are missing out on school lunches right now
Burger King has also committed to fighting childhood hunger by offering free kid’s meals for pickup at some of their locations, as well as daily offers for free whoppers for students on twitter.
Other local restaurants across North America are doing all they can to help feed kids, including offering free sandwiches and donating their excess stock to schools. It’s a small way of supporting our community during these difficult times.
Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
People are struggling, but there are still good things happening in the world. Now, more than ever, is the time to come together and support the people around you and in your community. It’s refreshing to see individuals and companies doing all they can to lend a helping hand.
Looking for ways you can help? Check out these industries that have been hit hard by COVID-19 and how you can best support them.
You can also download Moola and buy a gift card for your favorite restaurants, retailers, and specialty stores. Businesses will get the money they need now to operate, and you can get a bonus on the gift cards you buy.
We’re all in this together. Download Moola to support your community today!