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How To Do Good During This Time Of Crisis

These stories of kindness and compassion will inspire you.

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“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

We are most definitely in a time of darkness, friends. There is no doubt about that. But rest assured, the stars are out and they are beautiful. It is, however, up to us to find them — to search for the people who are rising above with acts of kindness and compassion, and bringing smiles to the faces of friends, neighbors and even strangers during this pandemic.

Just about a week ago, it felt as though my world (and the world of my children) was flipped upside down. Life as we knew it had come to an abrupt halt, and we were left with an overwhelming sense of doom, gloom, anxiety and shock. My eyes were glued to the local news, Facebook, Twitter and any source that could offer me every (anxiety-inducing) detail of this thing called the coronavirus.

Gathering information, researching and tuning-in somehow made me feel in control of it all, despite the fact that I was — and I remain — mostly powerless over this crisis. I found myself overstimulated and full of fear as I worried about the many things I could not control and yearned for a return to life as we knew it.

The news, the statistics and the reports of every new case and every new death were too much to handle. I couldn’t possibly stay in the moment or stay positive while spending every free minute obsessing over COVID-19. I needed to change my perspective. I needed to focus on the things I could control and find the silver linings. So, I have set out on a mission to find the stories of human kindness, love and compassion that are taking place all around us — and to share them with you.

Here are some of those stories from people who have given, received and witnessed the same.

A little work goes a long way
“I decided I was going to hand-sew masks for local medical professionals, who are experiencing a shortage of supplies. My girlfriend in Boston [who was also making masks] posted a how-to video on Facebook. I went shopping, picked up elastic, cotton and thread, and came home and went to work! [When I am done] they will be donated to our local Visiting Nurses Association. It is a just a small gesture to give back. I am blessed that I am able to.”

Anne Thomas Lavoie, 55, Simsbury, Connecticut

A simple check-in brings a thank-you at checkout
“While shopping for some last-minute essentials, I bumped into an employee, who was frantically running up and down the aisles, [restocking as fast as he could]. I asked him, ‘How are YOU doing today? How are you holding up?’ He looked at me, paused and answered with a smile. ‘I’m hanging in there, but it has definitely been difficult. Thank you for asking.’ I walked away and [finished my shopping]. When I got to the checkout line, I felt a tap on my shoulder from the same gentleman, [who told me:] ‘I just wanted to [say] thank you so much for asking how I was doing. I really appreciate it! Not a lot of people say anything to me, and some of them are quite mean lately; it really meant a lot that you asked how I was doing, so thank you.”

Stacy Routhier, 40, Simsbury, Connecticut

The family that apps together stays together
“I visit my mom every Wednesday [at her nursing home] and we have dinner together, so I was upset that I wasn't able to have my weekly dinner with Mom this week. My husband and I went to her building, called her from my cell phone, and told her to look out the window (she's on the second floor). Ben and I were jumping up and down like fools, screaming, ‘Hi Mom, it's Monique and Ben.’ We just hugged each other and threw her kisses for a few minutes. My kids also showed me how to load WhatsApp on my phone, and the three of us had a great face-to-face conversation this morning. My family is the most important part of my life.”

Monique Giese, 62, Avon, Connecticut

Pay it forward in sweetness
“One of my favorite local bakeries has remained open amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and they have been posting uplifting stories of the community coming together to support this cherished small business. One woman called in and paid for macaroons for ‘the next 10 customers who walk through the door.’ Another customer called and purchased a $20 gift card for ‘one lucky customer.’ And in an effort to pay it forward, the owner of the bakery wrapped up boxes of her macaroons and delivered them to nurses at local hospitals as way of saying thank-you.”

Tricia Buteau, 48, Canton, Connecticut

Dance like you’re quarantined
“A friend of mine organized an ‘online quarantine dance party.’ Several DJs took turns spinning tunes, and attendees took turns dancing on camera while everyone else chatted. People from all over the country attended, some of whom I had lost touch with. It made me feel great to jam out in my room with everyone dancing on camera and having fun. It was lighthearted and fun. A wonderful way to connect with people.”

Alyse Gray, 39, Washington, D.C.

Teach a neighbor to cook and you feed her with kindness
“My friend Christine, who is a great cook, packaged up ingredients [for an Indian dish I don’t know how to make] with instructions and dropped them at my door. She is going to do a Zoom with me [and teach me how to make the dish step by step] because she knows I am going to be insanely isolated and need the help! I literally cried because it was so nice.”

Stacy Gauthier Nelson, 44, Needham, Massachusetts

Shared toilet paper restores faith in goodness
“On Saturday, I went grocery shopping with my 4-year-old son, Bryan. It was packed with other shoppers who were filling their carts with necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and more. There were a few packages of toilet paper left, so I put one in my cart. I later stepped away from my cart and heard Bryan shriek in horror as a woman grabbed the toilet paper package out of my cart and ran off with it. When a man nearby saw what happened, he gave me toilet paper from his cart. This terrible time is bringing out not only the worst in people, but the best in people, too.”

Rebecca Beach, 38, Arlington, Texas

Even in trying times, goodness is everywhere. If you find yourself stuck in fear or anxiety, challenge yourself to find the love and kindness because it is all around us; it is in your neighborhood and your children, in your spouse and your grandparents. It lives in your pets, the cashiers at the grocery store and the staff serving up your favorite Dunkin’ coffee. It is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. Find it, share it and be it, and above all else say thank you. Choose gratitude, and always opt to be a star in times of darkness.