As the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Wyoming last week, life quickly changed in our small community. Empty store shelves, canceled events and extra precautions all became a …
As the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Wyoming last week, life quickly changed in our small community. Empty store shelves, canceled events and extra precautions all became a reality here.
While Park County may resemble the rest of America and the world right now amid a growing health crisis, there’s also an opportunity to show what makes our community great: We take care of each other.
Instead of hoarding groceries, rolls of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other essential items, we can look for ways to help our neighbors — even if they’re strangers.
Not everyone has a stockpile of supplies in their pantry or freezer right now. Some cannot afford to buy weeks’ worth of groceries, let alone enough toilet paper to last until Christmas. Others didn’t make it to the store right away, and were alarmed to find the items they needed no longer on shelves. And the most vulnerable populations — the elderly and those with health conditions — are staying home rather than risking going out in public.
That’s where we all have the opportunity to help. Let’s ensure that the shelves at Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes are full, along with other food pantries in the area. Let’s look for ways to serve homebound seniors who need help running errands or getting groceries. Let’s check in with neighbors who may be lonely — a simple phone call to see if they need someone to talk to during this uncertain time. Let’s find ways to support local restaurants and stores whose sales are dropping — perhaps by purchasing gift cards to use at a later date.
Let’s be willing to look out for others, and not just ourselves.
We know many acts of kindness are already happening around our community. Local businesses are going above and beyond to serve customers, including some that have started to provide delivery services. Healthcare providers and public health officials are working hard to care for patients and help ensure residents stay healthy and safe.
On social media, local residents have shared various offers to help those in need. To organize efforts, a “Love Thy Neighbor” group launched on Facebook, where specific needs and donations are posted.
Since some local residents don’t use social media, it’s also worth reaching out to churches and nonprofit organizations — senior centers, youth organizations, food pantries — to see how to help with specific needs.
We can also show we care by limiting the spread of germs in our community. Be sure to wash your hands and stay home, especially if you are sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now calling for no gatherings of 10 people or more, and asking Americans to limit time in public places as much as possible. While it may be difficult or inconvenient, it’s important to practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.
This is the time for our community to come together, even if we can’t do so in a literal sense right now.