The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reached more than 150 countries, infected hundreds of thousands of people, and resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
It’s easy to become swept up in the doom and gloom. So, in times like these, small acts of kindness matter now more than ever.
Here are just a few examples of everyday people lending a helping hand to those in need:
A seven-year-old Greek piano prodigy penned an Isolation Waltz
Stelios Kerasidis says his latest work was written especially “for people who suffer and isolate because of COVID-19”. It has received more than 200,000 views since he uploaded it to YouTube on 31 March.
Australia-wide pen-pal service connects with the elderly
To combat feelings of loneliness and isolation among Australia’s elderly, care provider Home Instead Senior Care has launched an electronic penpal program to more than 40 franchises across the country. The program aims to connect members of the public with elderly Australians who are in aged-care facilities or in their own homes.
People are getting creative in handing out toilet paper
While retailers have placed restrictions on the number of rolls available for purchase per person and are busily restocking shelves, that hasn’t stopped people from coming up with unique ways to distribute the high-demand paper product.
In South Carolina, US, one police department came up with a clever alternative to help the local community by swapping out tickets with toilet paper. In Australia, one desperate cafe launched a coffee-for-toilet paper deal as their supplies dwindled amid coronavirus panic buying.
In Colorado Springs, two YouTubers gave away the toilet paper left over from a previous video (in which they constructed a giant fort made from US$5,000-worth of toilet paper). The pair stopped by senior living homes, then gave some to store employees and strangers in parking lots – they even held a pop-up toilet paper shop.
A boy scout 3D prints ear guards to help healthcare workers
Quinn Callander, a 12-year-old Canadian boy scout, wanted to give back to his community during these uncertain times, so he answered the local hospital’s call to create ear guards for surgical masks.
Made using his 3D printer, the guard attaches to the ear loops of masks to give more of a custom fit, which then relieves the ear pressure and pain for healthcare workers who are wearing the masks all day. He has already donated dozens of his invention and has publicly shared the file he’s using so anyone with a 3D printer can make them for the medical staff in their area.
Bob and Nancy celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary apart
Bob Shellard, 90, is unable to visit Nancy, 88, at her nursing home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, due to coronavirus restrictions. Determined to celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary, he brought a beautiful handmade sign and a bunch of balloons and stood outside her window. “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do,” it read. “Happy anniversary.”
People are adopting healthcare workers
While frontline healthcare workers are busy taking care of us, some of them are finding it difficult to take care of themselves. The Facebook initiative ‘Adopt a Healthcare Worker’ was created to connect Australian medical staff with people who can offer support.
“At the very least, it means checking in with them regularly, finding out what will help them to function,” the Facebook page reads.
“Do they need you to prepare some meals they can freeze? Do they need you to pick up or look after their kids? Even if it’s on the one day they get off, so they can catch up on some sleep! Do they need a shoulder to cry on?
“Working on the front line is going to take its toll – be there to support them!”
US chef José Andrés converted his restaurants into community kitchens
The founder of non-profit group World Central Kitchen has turned eight of his acclaimed Washington D.C. restaurants into gourmet community kitchens that will serve affordable takeaway meals for those who need it. Through World Central Kitchen, Andrés also helped provide meals to stranded, quarantined cruise passengers aboard ships docked in Oakland, California and Yokohama, Japan.
A Canadian couple gets a heart-warming wedding surprise
Anastasija and Josh Davis of British Columbia, Canada, were forced to rethink their wedding plans due to coronavirus. The couple got married in Josh’s parents’ living room in front of immediate family and the groom’s best man. As they left to get photos at another location, their friends lined the streets with signs, balloons, streamers, and music blasting from their cars.
“They were honking, cheering, yelling congratulations,” Anastasija told Insider. “Josh and I were shocked. We were crying, we couldn’t believe this was happening. Seeing them on the street, celebrating our day with us, made it so magical.”
Strangers are showing viral kindness
UK lecturer Becky Wass felt helpless but determined to support others in some way. So, she designed postcards, which you can download online, for people to send to their isolated neighbours offering supplies and support.
Whether that means picking up groceries or urgent supplies, posting mail or even offering a friendly phone call, any act of kindness counts. The idea went viral on social media and has spread all over the world.
Italians are singing from the rooftops
People across Italy, one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, were seen singing, dancing and playing music from the balconies and windows of their homes during the nationwide lockdown. In a bid to boost community morale, the songs included the national anthem, Italian folk song ‘Bella Ciao’, Domenico Modugno’s 1950s classic ‘Volare’.