The coronavirus pandemic has most of us safely at home. Yet we are still looking for ways to remain connected and help others in our community. I’ve been inspired by people all over the world in their compassion and innovation to assist with various aspects of covid_19. From tangible medical solutions, to support for families and essential workers, clearly people are trying to keep busy and help others in whichever way they are able. We are in this together.
As a blogger and someone that spends a lot of time on social media, a small way I felt I could give back was to shine a spotlight on some of these individuals and businesses in support of their efforts. If you are looking for ways to help others in your community, you might find some inspiration here. During this time of sobering news feeds from around the world, this is strictly a feel-good piece meant to inspire and uplift.
How to Help your Community: 9 Local Businesses who Make an Impact
Girls Inc. of the Valley
Girls Inc. of the Valley inspires young girls to be “strong, smart, and bold.” Their local headquarters, located in Holyoke, Massachusetts, provides an enriching environment where girls can develop life-skills, make new friends, receive academic guidance, and be exposed to opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. With many girls already navigating challenging experiences such as poverty and racism, these times of social distancing provide additional obstacles to young girls.
Executive Director Suzanne Parker explains how even above essential needs, the presence of a sensitive and caring adult is the primary factor in supporting healthy child development. During this time of social isolation, many girls are lacking access to essential services, Wifi for remote learning, and positive connections with adults in their lives. Girls Inc. is providing emotional and social support to girls and their families via virtual learning opportunities, connections to outside services, and connections with supportive adults and peers online. Those interested in learning more about the organization can visit their website, where applications for girls are available. The public can access their Facebook and Instagram to obtain free parent resources, and age appropriate learning activities.
Universal Plastics of Holyoke, Massachusetts has been deemed an essential service provider for their role in the development and manufacturing of reusable face shields and intubation boxes. Owners Pia and Jay Kumar recognized the immediate need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the medical community, and tasked their engineers to create items that could assist health care workers in the fight against coronavirus. Since Universal Plastics was already creating laboratory diagnostic equipment, they had the material and equipment necessary to manufacture medical grade equipment. Consulting with anesthesiologists from around the country, they swiftly developed and began manufacturing the face shields and intubation boxes. Universal Plastics is creating these items at cost. They are also donating them to their employees and family members, as well as various nursing homes and other health care organizations in their region.
Link to Libraries
Link to Libraries (LTL) is a Springfield, Massachusetts based organization that assists in getting books into the hands of elementary aged school children that might otherwise not have access to reading material. Working in alignment with many of the region’s public schools, and supported by volunteers, LTL fosters a love of books and reading in children to increase literacy rates. Volunteers are assigned a classroom in which they visit once a month to read an age appropriate book, and each student receives a copy of the book to take home. Laurie Flynn, President of LTL, shares how at this time of school closures and remote learning, the organization continues to support student readers and families by offering free virtual read alouds via Facebook with their Link Live: Bedtime Stories series. Select authors read their books to children live, and then afterwards viewers are invited to ask authors questions and interact. More information about LTL and access to Link Live can be found on their Facebook page.
Kelsey Lockhart, Photographer
Kelsey Lockhart is a Springfield, MA area photographer and elementary school teacher. Passionate about teaching and also about photography, she has photographed numerous musicians and other artists during her artistic career. Since her typical calendar of events and bookings have been delayed and canceled due to coronavirus, she has offered her photography services to families as part of the #frontporchproject. This donation based initiative has gone viral on social media as people look for ways to connect and support others during the covid_19 pandemic. Kelsey has photographed over 160 families for the #frontporchproject and donated all proceeds to the Springfield Food Bank. Kelsey’s photography portfolio can be viewed via her website or on Facebook.
Fusion Cross Media
Fusion Cross Media is helping to spread awareness and gratitude for health care heroes and first responders. As an essential manufacturing service, many of their clients have seen events and projects canceled. Fusion Cross Media is using their in-house printing capabilities to connect and share appreciation and support for those on the front lines via signage that supporters can place on their front lawns. Each Community Hero sign is printed with the name of the applicable community and has a unique number, which allows for a visual representation of the supportive messages being spread. Over 560 signs have been placed in various states. To show support for health care heroes and first responders, signs can be ordered via the Fusion Cross Media website.
Ascent Dental Care
Ascent Dental Care, located in East Longmeadow, is helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free triage calling hours, Mondays through Fridays from 11-2. Because the dental profession is part of essential caregivers in Massachusetts, the Ascent Dental Care team is open for emergency treatment to assist patients that have pain or suffering due to a dental issue. During the month of April and the first week of May, if anyone in the community has a dental question or concern, they can call for a no charge phone consultation to explain their issue and get advice on how to handle the situation at home or if they in fact need to see a dentist. 1-833-501-0665 Further information can also be found on Facebook.
Alves Fuels, located in Ludlow, MA is educating the public on ways to improve air quality at home to help protect themselves from COVID-19. There have been many references in the media about how to slow the virus’s spread and also how to protect yourself by washing your hands and cleaning surfaces in your home. Although the recommendation of social distancing to slow transmission of the virus through the air is now well known, what is unclear is how long the virus survives in an airborne status. They are continuing to provide the essential services of heating and cooling system tune-ups while not coming into contact with homeowners. More information about protecting your family through your home’s air quality can be obtained via Facebook.
Rose & Gold Digital Marketing
Rose & Gold, a digital marketing agency that offers full-service marketing for businesses, is paying it forward to support business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their campaign welcomes business owners to contact them for free advice on how to navigate business ownership from a marketing perspective. The agency will give guidance on how businesses should position themselves based on their industries during this time and give suggestions on how to successfully move forward. They are also creating a post pandemic marketing package for businesses that are looking for marketing assistance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available via Facebook.
The Good Dog Spot
The Good Dog Spot, with locations in both Chicopee, MA and Northampton, MA are open for dog daycare and boarding and are remaining open so they can help care for the dogs of essential workers, or those working from home and need their dog to have somewhere to run and play. They will continue to operate as normal while implementing extra precautions to keep staff and clients safe. Additional information on Facebook
People everywhere, everyday are doing what they can to help others, maintain their livelihoods, and support their employees and communities. Shopping local, keeping your eyes and ears open for ways to help, and staying home unless you are an essential worker, are three ways you can assist during the coronavirus pandemic. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
What about you? Are you looking for ways to help in your community? Is there an individual or business whose efforts you admire in assisting others during the pandemic? Let me know in a comment below!
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