In Severna Park, Md, outside of Baltimore, packed lunches are available for those who need them. These were prepared by a mom during the lockdown for anyone who was hungry. The food was available between 11 am and 1:30 pm.
Besides providing food to the hungry, this act spread love and connection within the community. One resident said the kind act made her embrace her community, even more, another said it lifted her spirit, and still, another said that through the act, this mom was putting goodness back into the world.
Small acts of kindness and love uplift and strengthen communities.
Stacy Mason, an ICU nurse at Mary Washington Healthcare, Virginia started a pantry, first in the ICU nurses’ break room and later, created one for the entire healthcare. Those that extra donated to the pantries and those in need got food from them. Mason came up with the idea after she saw that the supplies in the grocery stores were dindling due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who had the capacity provided food for those that needed it.
Even those at the frontline fighting the pandemic still looked out for those who needed extra support with food.
After a farmer in North Dakota, suffered a heart attack while harvesting his crops, between 40-50 neighbors organized to complete the harvesting while the neighbor was at the hospital. The neighbors realized that without their help, the 1,000 acres of crops would be spoiled and that would both a personal and financial loss to their neighborhood.
Within 7 hours, the crops were harvested and stored in bins. Importantly, the Unhjem family was comforted to know they had neighbors who prayed and cared for them when they were most in need.
This story shows the power of the community spirit.
Neighbors in Nashville responded to a Black man who said was after to walk around his childhood neighborhood. The man stated he was afraid he may not live to see another day if he walked by himself. This was around the time George Floyd was killed. In response, neighbors decided to walk with him.
The Black man walked around his childhood neighborhood accompanied the residents. The Black man later said the community support made him feel heard and human.
The power of a neighborhood in standing up for the vulnerable. The White community helped the Black man feel safe, heard, and cared for.
A group of dads who belong to Dad Club London did a secret fundraiser to make Maurice Ellis and his family know they were welcomed into the community. This happened after Jeremy McCall, the head of the club, learned that Mr. Ellis, a newcomer in the community, had received racist acts. The group raised nearly $7,000 towards the tuition fee of Mr. Ellis wife-Carline-Leslie. Mr. McCall said it was the honor of the group to take the school’s stress off the shoulders of this couple.
The Black family felt welcomed and cared for in their new community. Also, the fundraiser took care of the tuition fee, hence taking off that stress.
The surprising kindness from the dads/community. The Ellis family was surprised when the dads visited and presented them with the $7,000 check. There are enough love and care to counter hateful words and deeds. Racial equity was increased by helping a member of a Black family complete school by providing the tuition fee.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the impossibility of contact and face to face interaction has highlighted the importance of spaces for sharing and relationship in distance teaching offering a cross-section of emotions, questions and choices. Our contribution will present a distance learning course organized during the pandemic in the vein of community psychology. During the semester of teaching exclusively online made in the lockdown, we prepared an online course offering continuous monitoring and giving to the students an opportunity of active participation and scientific engagement. It involved 437 students of the degree course in Psychological Sciences and Techniques (teaching community psychology).
It was an opportunity of connectedness that scaffolded the isolated students. Exercises, video-web research and continuously interaction with the teacher maintain a shared connection. The use of photo, video and storytelling as didactic tools allowed an opportunity of reflectivity. In fact, the course has been a container of thoughts and emotions, an instrument of personal growth as well as cognitive. The attention to the active interaction of student lecturer, the creation of a strong teaching community and a methodology based on learning by doing, objectives of community psychology, have been experimented in distance teaching.
The experience of the course makes us aware that online support can enrich the learning path and shows us how its excellence develops only when the conditions of interaction and exchange between learners and teachers and students are central to the organization of objectives and educational paths. Online support has the potential to make it possible, or better to facilitate a teaching mode in which the student becomes a participant actor. The final book gave back the restitution of the whole experience.
Starting from a few existing CSO’s a call went out for communities to come together across Cape Town to support those vulnerable during lockdown. In no time at all over 200 CAN’s had sprung up over Cape Town, self organising in a flat hierarchy, organising to support the rapidly rising number of people without income due to the strict lockdown measures, the number of people going hungry rising rapidly daily. Using whats app and zoom calls these CAN’s were learning from each other and networking, with CAN’s from better resourced areas pairing up with CAN’s from under resourced areas.
At present, the CAN’s are doing more than the SA government to feed those who are going hungry due to strict lockdown measures through a network of community kitchens, as COVID numbers are now rising CAN’s are now organising to put together ‘Community Care Centres’. Gardening initiatives are springing up in every part of town.
The lockdown connected a divided Cape Town. Those requesting food support volunteering to cook in the community kitchen alongside their much wealthier neighbours, bridging divides. People connected with their neighbours and an elaborate scheme of street reps sprung up where neighbours support each others, sending data , airtime and supermarket vouchers to those in need.
My sister and my brother-in-law made a series of comedy videos during the lockdown. These videos were sent to family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues to spread cheerfulness and laughter in this serious, disturbing time.
The recipients of the videos were pleased that they could at least see my sister and my brother-in-law in the video, since personal meetings were not possible. Thus one felt closer again, despite the distance. In addition, the funny content of the videos was a welcome change in the midst of the disturbing news. Many recipients felt that a newly released video was often the highlight of the day, as it made everyday life, which was marked by social withdrawal, a little happier.
With regard to social interaction: The videos were a good occasion to get in touch with each other and to exchange ideas. The effort that went into creating the videos was worth it, as it brought cheerfulness to the recipients and gave them a sense of closeness. With regard to technology: An Internet connection that is too slow has often meant that the videos could only appear after a considerable delay.
One resident bought some chalk for his children to use and started writing messages when it was a birthday or an anniversary; these messages of congratulations and solidarity can be seen from our second story windows.
Children from the area started adding portraits so that it looks like they are all holding hands, something that they cannot not do during lockdown. The idea was first started by children but soon it became a focus of the street, with every resident (including pets) being included in this collective portrait.
The street art was a welcome distraction during these unsettling times, which resulted in increased well-being and community identity on our street.
Creative means of connecting people can emerge when we are separated. Initiatives for children can have spill over effects to grown ups!
Shared by Suzanne Wilson, from the United Kingdom.