By Laura Swanson
I’ve been posting, sharing, copying and pasting for nearly 12 hours. I’m exhausted, but I’m also greatly inspired and encouraged by our community. There has been an outpouring of “how can we help?” “What needs to be done?” “Who’s feeding the kids?” Senior meal programs adapt with “pick up” service, childcare offers and so much more. This is an unprecedented event that calls for extraordinary efforts, and I’m proud to say that our community is stepping up.
Of course, I’m not really surprised. So, what are some of the things that you can do to help?
There may be needs for volunteers to staff many of our local food banks and food pantries, and senior meal sites. Many/most of the volunteers are in the “vulnerable” group, so check in with your local food pantry or church to see if they will need some assistance. The Pioneer is working to gather the needs and we’ll put out a list of who needs what, where as soon as possible.
Honor the calls for social protection (social distancing) suggestions – we are using the term “social protecting” instead of “social distancing” as word choice matters (Thank you Marisa Bayouth – you are so right!) This describes the actions required and the reason for it – to protect our vulnerable friends and family, our elders and those with compromised immune systems.
I’ve checked in with various local businesses, in particular our vacation rental companies and they report that for the cancellations they’ve received, they are receiving just as many calls for reservations. People will be coming, but it’s likely to look a little different.
Please be sure to patronize our local businesses, grocery stores or restaurants. If you are in the vulnerable group, or simply don’t feel comfortable in public places right now, get your food to-go. Many/most of our restaurants are more than happy to box up your order, and I’d bet they’d even bring your food out to your care for you, too. Grocery stores locally are still well-stocked, and again, if you call in your grocery list, I’m sure they’ll be happy to bring it out to you.
Here’s a cartoon-zine we shared back on March 1st (that seems like such a long time ago) that provides really good information designed for kids, but super-helpful for adults, too.
Have you talked to our kids about COVID-19?
With the “extra” week of Spring Break, kids are talking about it to each other and may have some worries or misinformation. Let them know that it’s natural and okay to be worried. I’m worried too. You can reassure them that kids who have gotten COVID-19 have recovered nicely.
Let’s make sure our kids have the right information. Help the older ones understand how to find reliable information on the internet. More Oregon Health Authority blog and CDC website; less YouTube.
Teach the little ones how we keep our bodies healthy—good food, lots of sleep, exercise. Drink water. You know the drill.
Remind them of the last time they were sick. How did they feel? What made them feel better? Help them translate those memories into compassion for others who are sick and into desire to keep themselves and others healthy.
Teach them to wash their hands and cover their coughs.
Numbers. The latest numbers for Oregon are 30 confirmed cases, 96 cases with testing pending which we update daily. As of today’s web refresh, 366 people in Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, and 29 have died of the disease. The numbers are going up quickly as more labs begin testing.
Practice compassion. Remember to have compassion for yourself. This is a stressful time, with changes to events we looked forward to, potential job impacts of closures, and worry for our health and for our loved ones. Take a minute to breathe. You are doing your best! Take care of yourselves and each other!
We’ve weathered many storms and we’ll get through this different kind of storm as our communities come together to take care of each other.