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Posted by News from Around and About

Difficult times can bring out the best in people—and as the coronavirus spreads across the nation, an epidemic of kindness has followed in its wake. Despite the challenge of social distancing, people are finding creative ways to stand by each other, even while standing apart.

Shortly after the “stay home” order, Kristan McCary of Ajax Café sprang into action. Her Port Hadlock restaurant announced free meals for curbside pickup on social media: “For as long as we are able, the Ajax will be serving no cost meals for those in need.” Soon thereafter, she offered free delivery to the housebound.

Maryland teenagers Matt Casertano and Dhruv Pai organized a grocery delivery service for senior citizens. After volunteering to shop for their own elderly neighbors, they realized they could help on a larger scale. Now seniors in their community can email shopping lists, and a nearby volunteer gets the groceries and leaves them at the front door.

Citizens nationwide have stepped up to feed our frontline healthcare providers. In D.C., Elena Tompkins and Sarah Cannova collect donations to buy meals for delivery to hospital workers, which also helps struggling restaurants. In Bremerton, Ed Van Gil started making large batches of home-cooked meals and personally delivering them to healthcare facilities—and when word of his good deed spread, a group of community volunteers joined in.

Many people also rely on spiritual sustenance, and churches have adapted by holding services inspired by drive-in theatres. The congregation assembles in cars, and the sermon—often delivered from “pulpits” designed for maximum visibility—is broadcast to their radios. In Ohio, Pastor Frank Carl stands 25 feet high in a scissor lift, while in Wisconsin, Pastor John Hanson preaches from atop a dump truck.

As countless celebrations for graduations, weddings, and birthdays have been cancelled, drive-by parades of family and friends have become the new norm. New Jersey native Charles Swody’s 100th birthday was no exception. The World War II veteran and retired local Fire Chief was honored with a festive motorcade through his neighborhood, complete with a fire engine in the lead—and his wife of 78 years at his side.

Such is the generosity and resilience of the human spirit. We’ve learned how to stay close, even from a safe distance. We’ve learned to spread love, not fear. And we’ve learned that no matter how far apart we are, we’re all in this together.

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