As the health and economic implications of “the worst is yet to come” for the coronavirus pandemic sink in, many people are stocking up on food and other necessities and staying home.
Social distancing is the new normal. Layoffs are rising. Elderly people and those with underlying health issues feel frightened, vulnerable, and isolated. Is there anything we can do both to restore a sense of community and to help those who are most in need?
One small neighborhood on the Eastern Shore is attempting exactly that. The members of the Pear Tree Point Citizens Association–most of some 24 households on the banks of the Chester River in Queen Anne’s County across from Chestertown—jointly own a boat landing, where members can launch or retrieve a boat. Minimal dues cover the liability insurance and taxes. The Association holds an annual meeting to elect officers and discuss any neighborhood issues, but also to share food and catch up with each other.
Reflecting on the pandemic and knowing that some members are vulnerable and likely self-isolating in place, the current president sent a query to the Association email list, asking whether members would volunteer to help any neighbor in need by delivering medicines or food or in other ways—and suggesting that anyone who found themselves in need use the email list or call him to ask for help. Quite a few people responded to say they would be glad to help, and moreover that they liked the idea of the neighborhood taking care of itself—it felt like a tangible and positive thing to be doing, a way to push back against the isolation and fear.
It’s likely that many neighborhoods among the Spy’s readership could do the same thing.