Good News and Inspiring Stories From the Pandemic to Lift Your Spirits

James Barrett
Photo credit: Selene San Felice

From Redbook

When the ball dropped at midnight to kick off a new year and decade, no one could have anticipated what the year was about to bring. Only three months in, 2020 became all about cancelling trips/major events and social distancing. Navigating this pandemic is new for all of us, including working from home, protecting loved ones, getting supplies and staying connected to friends.

The internet has become a scary place. Instagram and Facebook are no longer a friendly escape to see what friends and loved ones are up to, but now often filled with alarming posts regarding the pandemic. It’s overwhelming for all of us...and the world at large is going through it together.

But with the bad comes the good. If you filter through the negative news, you'll read about the everyday heroes, nurses and doctors on the frontlines and the soccer moms hand sewing masks. Hotels like the Four Seasons have opened their doors to medical professionals for their proximity to the hospitals. Positivity can be contagious, no matter who you are and how big or small an idea -- pursue it and pass on the good. Here are some stories that will inspire you and lift your spirits from individuals to companies around the country...

Messages of encouragement are left for hospital workers in sidewalk chalk.

At Morristown Memorial Hospital, medical professionals were surprised with messages of encouragement and kind messages on the pavement of the medical center’s entrance doors. One message (written colorfully in chalk) read, “If you are just arriving thank you for what you are about to do!”

Small businesses in Vermont chartered a private plane filled with Coronavirus tests to those in need.

Vermont-based company Green Mountain Messenger worked with local businesses and the State of Vermont to send hundreds of COVID-19 test specimens to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as the state ramps up on testing. In a race against time, the owners of the plane volunteered and donated their plane to get this vital cargo to help as many people as they can. Getting COVID-19 test results as fast as possible allows providers to make crucial clinical decisions for the health and protection of their patients and those around them.

Photo credit: Nicole Kozlowski

This nursing home staff is throwing parties to help residents cope without seeing their visitors.

The staff at Brightview Senior Living in Warren, New Jersey have gone above and beyond to make sure their residents are feeling safe and happy. Vibrant Living Director Emily Martinelli said, “We’ve been doing FaceTime calls, going door to door giving out ice cream and have coordinated special events.” Most recently, residents had a blast at a rock n’ roll themed sock hop party filled with milkshakes for the elderly.

Photo credit: Brightview Senior Living

This group of teens created a website to deliver groceries to seniors.

Senior citizens are at the highest risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. With extra time on their hands from social distancing, California native Daniel Goldberg, a junior student-athlete at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara (along with a couple of friends), wanted to help the elderly. He created Zoomers to Boomers, a website where seniors in the Santa Barbara area can sign up to have their groceries delivered the next day by a high school student. This act inspired many citizens throughout the country to check on their elderly neighbors.

Photo credit: Zoomers to Boomers

Individuals are hand-sewing masks for nurses.

Throughout the country (especially in New York and New Jersey), basic medical supplies are running extremely low in hospitals where nurses are being told to use bandanas instead of a medical mask. Local individuals have been stepping up and heading to their sewing machines, making handmade reusable masks for medical professionals on the frontlines.

Photo credit: James Barrett

This Mom created a jar of ‘magical things to look forward to’ to help kids stay positive.

What started as a single Facebook post that’s now gone viral, mom Katie Eborall has inspired us all with Post-it notes, a jar and some positivity. She writes, "Every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, we’re going to write it down and put it in a jar." This jar has become a bucket list for her family and with notes like "Stay at grandma's house," it's taught her children to not take anything, even grandma, for granted.

Texas Roadhouse CEO is giving up his salary and bonus to pay his workers.

Restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor recently announced that he is forgoing his remaining 2020 salary and bonus toward paying his employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. His remaining salary and bonus totals around $1,050,000. Kent believes his company is a people-company above everything and wants to make sure his employees are taken care of during this difficult time for businesses across the country.


Photo credit: Texas Roadhouse

A South Dakota math teacher helped his student from her front porch.

Math teacher Chris Waba went above and beyond to make sure all of his students are continuing to learn from home. One of his students, 12-year-old Rylee Anderson, struggled with her algebra homework and was unable to find a solution. She didn’t have a classmate to turn to, her parents weren’t familiar with the modern way math is being taught and she wasn’t understanding the directions from Mr. Waba. Her teacher (who happens to be her neighbor) came to her front porch, set up his easel and taught her the lesson -- separated by a glass door between them.

This Reiki instructor is helping families and individuals deal with anxiety through online breathing sessions.

When the quarantine began, New York City resident Melanie Kussell wanted to do something to help those around her. She's a full time digital advertising associate but finds her relaxation as a Reiki instructor. She says, "I want people to realize that they’re not alone in this pandemic, that it's okay to feel sad and anxious, to feel vulnerable and receive Reiki healing to find relaxation amid the chaos." Reiki, meaning 'Universal Life Energy,' works on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels, helping bring us back to our natural state of peace and wellbeing. Social distancing didn’t stop Kussell -- she holds free online Reiki circles where people can join from all over the country to feel connected and ease their anxiety.

Photo credit: Melanie Kussell

New Yorkers are cheering loudly at 7PM every day for medical professionals.

What began in the streets of Italy has made its way to America -- cheers, singing and applause every night to thank health heroes. New York City residents have taken to their balconies, windows and doorsteps (at a safe distance) to energetically make noise (even banging on pots and pans) as a sign of gratitude for those in the hospitals risking their lives to save others.

This mystery mom leaves free lunches out every day 'for anyone who needs it.'

This neighborhood in Severna Park, Maryland is feeling a strong sense of community from a mystery mom who leaves bagged lunches outside a busy roundabout. With a sign that reads, “For anyone who needs it: I will be leaving some healthy sack lunches on this table for you if you are hungry and need to eat. Made with love by a neighborhood mom in a clean and sanitized kitchen. I will leave this table up from 11AM-1:30PM.” Her actions are a reminder that no matter who you are, you can make someone’s day a little brighter.

Photo credit: Selene San Felice

Four Seasons in New York City is offering free stays for local medical workers on the frontlines.

As a result of social distancing, hotels and resorts across the country have temporarily closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. With the hotel left empty, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Four Seasons on 57th Street in Manhattan is offering free shelter to medical professionals on the frontlines. Chairman of the hotel’s corporate owner Ty Warner said, “Many of those working in New York City have to travel long distances to and from their homes after putting in 18-hour days. They need a place close to work where they can rest and regenerate.”

Photo credit: Rudi Von Briel - Getty Images

Stories of these remarkable individuals and companies will soon outshine the negative. The next time you’re on social media and are feeling overwhelmed with posts about COVID-19, look for the good, inspiring stories of those on the frontlines and those in your communities doing what they can to help. Everyone’s message is simple -- no matter the circumstances, whatever is going on, be kind and do your part because we’re in this together and this too shall pass.

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