The amazing ways people are lifting each other’s spirits during coronavirus
Take a look at some of the kind acts – both great and small – that are buoying people during these uncertain times.
Despite the increase of fear-fuelled behaviour like panic buying in the early days, the new normal has also sparked positive behaviours such as unexpected acts of kindness.
And this is a common human response, says Deakin University associate professor of philosophy Patrick Stokes.
“Times of crisis really lay bare just how much we’re all radically dependent on each other to survive and thrive,” Prof Stokes says.
When stability is upended, generosity can help “break though and re-establish direct human engagement with people”, he says.
In recent weeks, this has manifested in everything from community-minded acts to large-scale social media movements.
“Kindness and consideration can cut through the isolation and facilitate genuine human engagement like nothing else,” Prof Stokes says.
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Here are some of the heart-warming actions taking place around the world and in our own backyard during the coronavirus pandemic.
Facebook groups under the banner of The Kindness Pandemic have popped up all around the world. But in Canada, a sub-trend has emerged within these groups called “caremongering” (a play on the word scaremongering).
Caremongering facilitates generous acts towards vulnerable citizens and is done through social media posts.
Each post contains one of two hashtags: #iso, which means “in search of” and #offer, for people willing to help.
Some of the good deeds enacted via caremongering have included delivering cooked meals or donating supermarket gift cards.
Italy was one of the first countries forced into a nationwide lockdown to stem the devastating coronavirus outbreak.
But soon afterwards, social media videos began to emerge of apartment-bound citizens entertaining one another from across their balconies, with these musical performances and sing-alongs promoting solidarity and positivity among the isolated citizens.
Doctors, nurses and medical staff on the frontline of the coronavirus health battle are held in high esteem by the wider community.
To show their appreciation, #ClapforCarers social media videos have emerged in the UK, showing NHS workers being cheered on by isolated citizens as they leave work.
In response to the growing trend, London anaesthetist Tom Dolphin tweeted: “Incredibly touching to hear the applause (and fireworks!) erupt from the windows and balconies around me on the way home from the hospital.”
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Another emotional clap for carers with all three emergency services coming together at Beane River View Care home to thank the carers and NHS workers for their hard work 🌈🌈👋👋#clapforcarers #nhsheroes #hertspolice #eastofenglandambulance #hertfordfirestation #beanriverview #hertsfireandrescue
Meals (and more!) on wheels
Delivering food to the needy is all in a day’s work for Scottish charity Social Bite.
But since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the organisation has expanded its operation by providing meals to anyone struggling – and is preparing to expand its goods delivery service to include baby items, toilet rolls and medicine.
“It’s now not just homeless people who are in need but people who suddenly find themselves out of work or parents trying to feed their children,” founder John Littlejohn told The National.
Going on a bear hunt
With playgrounds shut, families are hitting the pavement for their daily dose of exercise – and thanks to a new social movement, they’re hunting for bears along the way!
People worldwide have begun placing bears in their front windows and gardens, creating a spotting game for youngsters.
An Australian Facebook group, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Australia, has attracted more than 20,000 followers, with people sharing photos of teddy bear sightings in their own neighbourhood.
Group founder and primary school teacher Kate Mercer explained to SBS that the simple act encourages “some childhood joy” during this difficult time.
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Keep your eyes peeled for rainbows! Similar to the bear hunt concept, a number of chalk-drawn rainbows have popped up on neighbourhood streets.
A Facebook group called Rainbow Trail Australia is behind the phenomenon, stating that its mission is to “spread some joy during these testing times”.
Less than a month after being established, the group had more than 130,000 members.
They are encouraged to draw chalk rainbows, love hearts and smiley faces on footpaths to brighten people’s day as they walk past.
Shopping with a hello
In New York City, one of the worst-hit areas for COVID-19, two college students made it their mission to deliver shopping and connect with vulnerable elderly community members who are living in lockdown.
Liam Elkind and Simone Policano established Invisible Hands and within 72 hours, they amassed 1300 volunteers who pledged to deliver groceries and stop by for a socially distanced chat with isolated senior citizens.
Like many retail workers, Rachel Shearer was stood down from her casual job at Lush Cosmetics.
At the time, the Adelaide woman was given 4kg of the store’s signature handmade soaps – so she decided to package them up with a note and drop them around her neighbourhood.
Her good deed went viral after one recipient posted about the surprise delivery of the in-demand item.
Rachel told ABC that she hopes her small act encourages others to do “one act of kindness, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem”.
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Drawing for oldies
Lifting the spirits of the elderly living in isolation spurred mum and Melbourne journalist Clare Rigden to create the Facebook group Drawings for Oldies.
The group encourages kids to create artworks accompanied by a message of support for older people, with their mini-masterpieces forwarded on to aged-care facility residents.
“It’s a really good thing to do with the kids in lockdown and they feel like they’re brightening someone’s day,” says Clare.
Having your neighbours over for a drink is a no-go thanks to social distancing restrictions, but that didn’t stop one intrepid South Australian man from coming up with an ingenious solution.
Norwood resident Joe Mignone devised a contraption using a drone, a plastic container and some shot glasses of Johnny Walker so that he could deliver a drink to his neighbours.
Cheers to that!
Written by Sharon Hunt.