Coronavirus 2020 :: How to Love Thy Neighbor During a Pandemic

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The Blizzard of ’93

I remember well the Blizzard of ’93. The evening before the snow began to fall, I spent the night with my grandparents. No one really expected any issues. After all, it was March in the South. I woke up to snow that was waist-deep and have fond memories of heating milk for hot chocolate over my grandparents’ real wood fireplace.

At nearly eight years old, I didn’t know the problems the unexpected snow storm caused for most people in Alabama. I just knew that as my uncle drove me home from my grandparents’ house in his 4×4 Bronco, many people were having difficulty driving on snow-covered roads. Cars were sliding everywhere and many people wrecked in just the half mile stretch of road between our two destinations.

As time went on, power went out everywhere. Recognizing that many people in our community were without heat, my dad loaded up his four-wheeler and a trailer full of firewood and made several trips around our community delivering firewood. My dad and my uncle also used their 4×4 vehicles to carry stranded people back to their homes. Some of the obstacles created by this blizzard were avoided because of the time and resources of generous people like my dad and uncle.

Coronavirus Pandemic Similarities

This coronavirus pandemic is similar to the blizzard. Thankfully, we shouldn’t lose power or be stranded due to road conditions. However, we are making preparations for issues that affect us all.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the media frenzy and the many ways we’re told to protect ourselves and others from the virus. You don’t need me to tell you to wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Maybe what you need to hear are ways to make the best of this.

With regard to the CDC guidelines and respect for those with vulnerable immune systems, there are some generous ways to look out for those in our community during this unique time in our country. Use your common sense and discretion with these. Social distancing is so important, but we can also use this time as an opportunity to love those around us well. 

Ways To Love Those Around You

Check On Elderly Neighbors

While it’s best to keep a physical distance from the elderly or those with suppressed immune systems, it’s a good idea to check on them periodically through phone calls and texts. Make sure they are feeling well, offer to put a meal on their front porch, call to chat with them as they could be lonely, and have your kids make some pretty cards to stick in their mailbox.

Be sure to check in often with your elderly neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Check On Health Professionals

We know our amazing doctors, nurses, and first-responders are working hard to protect us during the coronavirus pandemic. If you have friends in the medical field, check on them to see if there are ways you can care for them (and their families) as they care for others.

Host a Home Church

With so many churches temporarily moving to online services only, consider hosting neighbors in your living room to stream a service online. Having an extra family or two in your home for a couple of hours could be very encouraging during a time of social distance, assuming all people are well.

Tithe Online

Speaking of churches streaming services online, don’t forget to tithe online! Most churches have this option and will continue to depend on their members to tithe in order to meet budget needs. Churches will also be more generous during this time to help people in their community. Consider giving above your normal tithe.

Tip Well

If you choose to eat out, remember to tip well! The servers are most likely experiencing less business than normal and will appreciate a generous tip. 

Offer to Keep Kids

With schools closing, there will be many working parents scrambling to find childcare, especially if they work in the medical field. Open your home to extra kids–within reason! I’m not advising opening a home daycare. But that friend next door? Go ahead and let her know you are available to help out. Here’s a list of kid-approved activities to do at home during the coronavirus pandemic quarantine.

Offer to help watch your neighbor's children during the coronavirus pandemic.

Help with Virtual School

If you are a homeschool mom or a teacher that finds herself home from school for a few weeks, offer to help your neighbor’s kids with their school work if they are required to complete online assignments. 

International Students

With college campuses closing, remember there are many international students who cannot return home because of the coronavirus. If you know of any, open your home to them! Offer a place to stay if you have an extra bedroom, but at the very least, offer a seat at the kitchen table for a home cooked meal. College students appreciate home cooked meals even when there isn’t a health crisis.

Bake Something 

One of my favorite things to do when I’m home for a snow day is bake! I’m planning to treat this pandemic as a snow day in my kitchen and make bread and cookies. You can leave your baked goods on your neighbor’s front porch or have them on hand in case you have unexpected visitors like an international student or a neighborhood kid. I love making bread in my Dutch oven. My kids love Magnolia’s chocolate chip cookies and these snickerdoodles

Share Your Toilet Paper

. . . and anything else you stocked up on. If you have a surplus of something, ask your neighbors if they need it. 

Ways To Care For Yourself During Social Distancing

Do What You Don’t Have Time For Otherwise

Do you have a book collecting dust? Read it! Do you have a show or movie you’ve been wanting to watch? Watch it! Do you have a favorite podcast you don’t have time to listen to? Now is the time! One of my favorite podcasts is The Big Boo Cast co-hosted by a Birmingham resident! Sophie and Melanie are best friends that just catch up on make-up, shows, sports, news, and everything else. They are hilarious and make you feel like you’re part of their conversation. It’s light-hearted and sure to get your mind off the hype of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Slow Down

With so many events cancelled or suspended, life will slow down a bit. Enjoy it! 

Use the social distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic to relax.

Love Others Well

Although this time in our country is unfortunate and worrisome, it is important that those of us who are well look for safe ways to help others. What other ideas do you have to love others well through the coronavirus pandemic while also considering the health of all? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

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Brittany was born in Birmingham and grew up in the Cahaba Heights community. She recently moved back to Birmingham after spending the past twelve years in the Huntsville area. Brittany graduated from Auburn University and is an elementary teacher. Since moving back to Birmingham she is a special needs paraeducator. Brittany and her husband, Brent, have three kids, ages 10, 6, and 4. Brittany is a long time blogger on her personal blog at A Merry Heart. Her hobbies include writing, cooking, and laughing. Brittany loves to tell a good story, especially about people she knows and loves. She hopes to tell stories that make you laugh, encourage you, or leave you inspired. Brittany finds beauty in community and hopes you feel like family anytime you sit at her table. She’s a simple gal that loves Jesus, her family, coffee, and intentional time with others.