By Erik Olsen, Co-Founder
At Common Ground Committee, one of our objectives is to show what good looks like by hosting public forum events. In the face of a global pandemic, we’ve also been heartened by stories of leaders and everyday citizens who are coming together as a community and showing the world we are #InThisTogether.
Drop us a line with your experiences, stories, and observations, and we’ll share them in our new blog series. During this time of social distancing, your stories of connection bring hope and give us all a greater sense of what good looks like – inspiring others to do likewise.
What Good Looks Like During COVID-19
Running Errands (No Tips Accepted)
One family in our NY apartment building just posted to the building’s website that they’ll pick up groceries or do other errands for anyone who isn’t able or too fearful to go out. The posting notes: “We will NOT accept anything in exchange.” ~ New York, NY
Ensuring No Neighbor Is Left Behind
I manage to go to the store during off hours, so lines haven’t been too bad. Although people are intent on getting the groceries they need, I’ve found them to be very good natured, moving around carts with a smile, recognizing that even though we’re in a stressful situation, there’s no need to add to it by being disagreeable. Walking up and back, the sidewalks are pretty much deserted, so I greet everyone I pass. Our building, which has a large number of elderly residents, is establishing a “neighbor to neighbor” program where we check in on each other regularly to see if help is needed. ~ Boston, MA
Getting Back to Nature, and to Family
Seen yesterday on a beautiful day in Hailey, Idaho – parents and their kids fishing in the Big Wood River. ~ Hailey, ID
Bringing Humanity Into Work Interactions
I am working on a project dealing with the state of Washington (from home and for my job.) Instead of calls being strictly business, we inevitably ask each other how the other is coping, if we are working from home and what challenges we are facing. Strangers encouraging each other since everyone in the world is fighting the same fight. Thanks for doing this Erik. ❤️ ~ Nashville, TN
Finding Strength of Character in Adversity
People say that adversity builds character; I’ve also heard (and I think more accurately) that adversity reveals character. Events like this are the great equalizer, in that our pettiness, fears, and self-absorption are stripped away when we think of how we might help others – not necessarily in grand gestures, but in the millions of small ways that we all can. Going to the grocery store is like going to the communal watering hole – there’s usually a spirit of friendliness and humor that’s not usually there. It reminds me of the post-9/11 world, when cynicism disappeared for a while. It’s interesting to be living through something so unprecedented. ~ Phoenixville, PA
Leveraging Technology to Reach People In Need
We’ve got a FB #314Together group that is helping small b2b keep each other afloat here in St Louis.
I’ve also joined an “Intellihelp” group on FB out of Texas that has gone nationwide to support each other on all levels.
Especially those that #need some help and others that are able to #give. Everything from supplies, to encouragement, to healing support.
We’ve got the technology to do it and our human compassion to make it happen.
We are capable, loving and kind! ~ St. Louis, MO
Caring for Our Community…Online & Offline
We are videotaping YouTube church services and studies and sending them to members. Might try a drive-in service showing. Our care team is cooking dinners twice a week for pick-up or delivery, making grocery /pharmacy runs for those who need to avoid shopping and have a nurse making wellness calls and visits if requested. Also working with the town Supervisor and board to identify the elderly in town so we can deliver meals and do shopping and wellness checks. ~ Dover Plains, NY
Giving to Spread Joy – and Receive It
I am a fan of jigsaw puzzles, and they were stacked and stashed in multiple nooks and crannies in our beach house. I sorted them by size and theme and they are now impeccably organized – PLUS I gave away twenty two of them. I set them out on the seawall with a sign that said “Free Puzzles,” and passersby helped themselves to all but three (and I have since found homes for two of those).
I was very pleased to watch from my deck as people paused to survey the inventory, and many would pick one up and carry it off. Several of them went to my immediate neighbors, but many to total strangers. I received one “Thank You” via the Next Door website which was entitled “To the nice person who gave us a puzzle.”
Looking Forward to Liberation
I went on a canoe trip once when I was at summer camp. The plan was to cross Lake Mooselookmeguntic, one of the Rangeley Lakes in Northwestern Maine, not far from the Canadian Border. There were probably 10 of us aged 12 or so and two counselors. The Rangeley Lakes trip was considered one of the high points of the summer, and every camper chosen for the adventure felt lucky.
We set forth on a bright day from Bemis, Maine, and almost as soon as we had dipped our paddles in the water, a powerful wind began to blow in our faces. After a couple of hours of strenuous effort, we made it to an island maybe a mile from our starting point. The counselors decided we should beach the canoes and set up camp and wait for the wind to die down before venturing further into what was a very large lake. And so we did.
And the wind did not die down, not on the next day and neither did it subside on the day after that. On the third day, the wind also blew. It was as if we had paddled into a Biblical Plague of the Wind.
As 12-year olds, after three days we were pretty much out of ideas for things to do, having denuded at least one good-sized chunk of shoreline of all the rocks that could be thrown into the lake. So the counselors, who were also approaching their wits’ end, decided that we should return to Bemis. And so we did, quite easily in fact with the wind howling at our backs.
We spent a night in a motel, which was a novel addition to the itinerary, and the counselors made an ingenious celebratory dinner with all our leftover provisions. So, having moved to Charlottesville on March 1, just in time to shelter in place here, I’m reminded of my incarceration on Lake Mooselookmeguntic, and of the great liberation that came at the end of that strange journey. ~ Charlottesville, VA