Pay It Forward
After moving from Kirkland to Seattle, I’ve missed knowing my neighbors and having a feeling of togetherness within my community. When I was growing up, I knew I could always run next door for the exact ingredient I needed to bake cookies. After moving to Seattle almost two years ago, I was hesitant to ask a neighbor when I needed something. One night, after starting to cook dinner, I realized I didn’t have a can opener. I walked to the nearest unit, knocked on the door, and politely explained my situation. After asking the elderly woman if I could borrow her can opener for a moment, I was surprised when she shoved it towards me through cracked door and said, “Keep it, I can barely use it anymore with my arthritis.” I was surprised by her generosity.
Even as a 21 year old, I turn to my parents in times of uncertainty for reassurance and peace of mind. I’m usually comforted with, “This isn’t as bad as (insert time from history).” But for the first time in my life, they too are floored, as they haven’t seen anything like this pandemic in their lifetime. The virus, the statewide shut down of non-essential work, and the recession that is bound to come as a result. Living in the Cascade neighborhood, I often walk through South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle. A few weeks ago, I passed the Seattle Times building, and I saw a sign that made me stop in my tracks. It read, “Coronavirus sparks an epidemic of people helping people in Seattle.” While it’s so easy to focus on the negative and to get swept into the storm of “fake news,” let’s acknowledge how we’ve come together as a community, and talk about some ways we can help out.
Many hospitals are running low on supplies and are short staffed. “The University of Washington’s Medical Center is seeking donations, such as surgical gloves, face masks and isolation gowns.” Another way to help hospitals during these tough times is by giving blood. If you’re interested in helping by donating blood, you can easily make an appointment online at Bloodworks Northwest on their website: bloodworksnw.org
Support restaurants and small businesses. Small and locally owned business throughout the state are struggling, since they have been temporarily ordered to shut down. Many businesses, like hair and nail salons, have no way of keeping their doors open. These businesses can be supported by buying a gift card to use in the future, or through donations. Also, some of your favorite restaurants are still open for takeout! They are even offering a “no contact” procedure for takeout and delivery. Many restaurants have turned to third party delivery services like Grubhub, Caviar, and Uber Eats that you can order from with little to no delivery fee.
It has become nearly impossible for vulnerable populations to leave the house for essential supplies. If you know of any elderly or disabled people in your neighborhood or building — reach out to them! Leave them a note (after handwashing, of course), and offer to grab them supplies on your way to the grocery store or pharmacy.
This pandemic has surfaced a lot of gaps over the past few weeks. From the smaller gaps our society needs to address to entire systems that desperately need to be changed. But what this pandemic has also revealed in the recent weeks is how people in the community are coming together as never before. The coming months will challenge us in ways we have never thought possible. But if we continue to care for our neighbors, we will gradually begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, we will come out more connected than we were before.