How Virginians Are Coming Together During the COVID-19 Crisis
Coronavirus has presented humanity with apparently insurmountable challenges, but it may have underestimated us. People across the world have stepped up, embraced their humanity, and shown that we will not let a virus bring us down.
This is especially true in Virginia. Alongside news stories about the virus’ death toll, case numbers, and updates, you’ll find no shortage of heartwarming stories highlighting how Virginians have come together during this time. There are reports that COVID-19 cases have been on a downward trend for three days in a row in Virginia, and these news stories bring much-needed hope and optimism.
Celebrating the Graduating Class
The loss of the rest of the school year is hard for parents and students everywhere, but perhaps no one is more disappointed than the 2020 graduating class. They’ve lost prom and the graduation that their families have looked forward to for 18 years. In Chesapeake, Virginia, the community decided to honor these graduates with a drive-by parade. The streets were lined with supporters (practicing social distancing, of course) who cheered as graduates drove by and waved out windows, wearing their caps and gowns. It may not be the graduation ceremony they anticipated, but it’s definitely one that they’ll be telling the next generation about.
Supporting Those Without Reliable Access to Food
Those with limited access to housing and food are at serious risk of coronavirus because they often do not have the luxury of social distancing or ingesting healthy foods that support their immune system. To combat this, a food pantry in Northern Virginia has started giving away thousands of dollars in grocery store gift cards. The pantry’s shelves were bare due to a dwindling amount of volunteers after Virginia residents were ordered to shelter in place. They chose to give away the rest of their remaining food, take donations online from the community, and use those donations to give gift cards to those in need of assistance. This gives families on the brink one less thing to worry about during one of the greatest challenges most of us will ever face.
Testing for Those at Risk
Everyone has seen how coronavirus tears through nursing homes and hospitals, due to the at-risk populations and the proximity of those living in these facilities. However, few have thought of the effects on those in jails, prisons, and juvenile detention facilities. In Virginia, 139 inmates and 50 DOC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as 25 kids at a juvenile facility. Thanks to advocacy from legal aid groups, the Virginia Department of Corrections is now dramatically ramping up its testing of inmates.
Celebrating a Veteran’s 101st Birthday
Everyone wants to feel special on their birthday; unfortunately, COVID-19 has canceled thousands of celebrations and will inevitably lead to the cancellation of many more. What about those who have milestone birthdays? When one of their own had a 101st birthday to celebrate, the Richmond community made sure he got a chance to celebrate.
Norbert Kopecko is a Richmond resident, World War II veteran, and a cherished member of his community. For more than 70 years, he celebrated his birthdays with his beloved wife until she passed away. To commemorate his impressive 101st birthday milestone, the people of Richmond gathered outside his house while maintaining social distance and sang to him. Many brought party hats, posters, and noisemakers.
This is just one example of why many are pushing for the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing.” Yes, we are all physically apart during this time, but we are definitely not socially isolated from our communities.
Rallying Support for Essential Workers
A heartwarming story out of Ashburn, Virginia highlights the ingenuity of children and the pure hearts they have when they learn of others’ struggles. Zohaib Begg, a seven-year-old boy living in Ashburn, learned about PPE shortages at hospitals in Virginia. His first thought: sew masks to help them.
When he realized he didn’t know how to sew, he shifted to focus on gathering unused gear from hotels and donating it to hospitals. He collected over 6,000 face masks, shower caps, and gloves. His efforts got so much attention that he was acknowledged by Barack Obama in a tweet. In true kid fashion, when asked “What has the reaction been to your donations?”, the little boy responded, “I don’t know, because I am in quarantine.”
How is your community coming together during these unprecedented times? How are you giving back? What would you like to see from businesses and individuals in your neighborhood? Reach out to the team at Pack Law Group if you are experiencing legal troubles during this time; we are always here to help.