Finding support and kindness in the Coronavirus neighborhood
Some of us have been leaning heavily on a particular thing in recent weeks. It's attributed to Mr. Rogers and it goes like this:
“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.”
Zaki Hamid is KUOW’s Director of Community Engagement and he's been keeping an eye out for the helpers.
What got you thinking about people in our community now who are helping others?
We have a monthly newsletter that goes out from our Community Engagement Department called KUOW Conversations. At the end, we always have a section called What's Good? We say, Did you see anything awesome in your community? Is there a random act of kindness that you witnessed? Tell us about it and we'll feature it in the next newsletter.
We don't get a whole lot of responses, maybe one or two a month. Sometimes we definitely have to keep digging and asking for people to submit something. This time around with Coronavirus happening, we put out a call on social media and almost immediately my mailbox started getting flooded with amazing stories.
That was really telling me that in times of crisis, this is the time when community really kind of comes together. And it's certainly showing up in the Puget Sound area. So not just you, lots of people keeping an eye out for the helpers.
And you've seen this play out in your own neighborhood, right?
Absolutely. We have a wonderful family here called the Hawkins family. They drop these pieces of paper in everybody's mailbox. It says that because of these crazy and unprecedented times, they just wanted to reach out to all the neighbors to make sure that they're doing okay.
They said if people find themselves in a position that they can't go to the store for health reasons, they should just contact them and they'll do their best to help.
But here's the great part about it, it said even if you just want to talk to somebody, here's our phone number, give us a call, we'll sit and we'll talk with you. And then they ended that little note with “we are stronger together.” That was just such a beautiful and refreshing thing to see when you open your mailbox.
Let's talk a bit about some of the stories that people have been sharing with you, and so many of them as you say. There's a lot of focus on supporting healthcare workers right now. Yes?
Absolutely. So there's this amazing volunteer group that teamed up with a restaurant called The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville, and they organized a gofundme to make meals in individual boxes and send it to hospitals in the Puget Sound area.
So they were delivering to Overlake, Swedish and Evergreen hospitals. The latest I checked they were up to $60,000 raised. When you go to the page, there's a wonderful note from an RN at one of the hospitals. It says:
“I'm an RN at Overlake Hospital in the ICU tonight. We received your very generous and delicious food. It honestly brought tears to many of our eyes. It's been such a challenging and stressful time, however, your thoughtful gesture made our day. Thank you very much.”
And food, of course, is a universal language for showing someone that you care about them. Are you hearing about other acts of kindness around in from the restaurant world now?
There's a restaurant called Tommyknocker's in Port Townsend. They are giving away free meals to anybody who's under 18 years, no questions asked. I called up and I talked to somebody there. I said, so why are you doing this? They said, there are so many youth that depend on schools for meals and since schools are suspended we wanted to do our part.
And even though their restaurant’s numbers are obviously down, not a whole lot of people going, they still felt the need that they have to help their community so free meals for anybody under 18, no questions asked.
One last story you want to share with us?
There's a group called Pratidhwani, the Seattle South Asian performing arts group. They had to cancel their show called Kashish 2020. But at the same time, they really recognize that they're not the only arts organization that is affected by this.
Not only did they organize a gofundme for several arts groups in the area, but they also said that they would match the donations up to $6,000. They recognize that it is a very small gesture, and they probably won't really save all these organizations.
But when I talked to their artistic director of the drama division, Agastya Kohli, he said that he just felt that they had to do something no matter how small it is to support their partner organizations that they've worked with in the past.
So that's another wonderful example of the arts community in this in this instance coming together.
If you have a story you'd like to share with us, email email@example.com
You can sign up for our community engagement newsletter at kuow.org/newsletters. Just look for KUOW conversations.
Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.