Life in the Time of COVID-19 (& Also Tornadoes)
We’ve come a long way since March.
First, let’s acknowledge that in the past few months, we’ve had our lives turned completely upside-down. People all across the globe have dealt with strict “safer at home” orders, the sudden need to homeschool, and the abrupt closure of beloved establishments, among other unprecedented stressors.
In Nashville, things have been particularly tough. On the night of March 2nd, a deadly tornado outbreak affected Middle and West Tennessee. In storms ranging up to EF3 and EF4 ratings, 25 people were killed, 300 injured, and more than 70,000 lost power. As local businesses and residents in East Nashville, Germantown, North Nashville, and Donelson worked to bounce back from the destruction, coronavirus set in.
When you lay it all out like that, things may seem overwhelmingly bad. The devastation caused by not one, but two major events has definitely challenged our state and its residents. However, this is exactly when good news becomes important.
Finding the Silver Lining
Bad news isn’t just upsetting – it can be detrimental to your mental health. In their recommendations for daily life and coping during COVID-19, the CDC recommends moderating your media diet. They state that watching, reading, or listening to news stories (even on social media) can be upsetting, triggering feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s not uncommon to develop concerns about protecting oneself or one’s family from the virus, or to feel distressed by the statistics surrounding coronavirus.
However, it’s important to remember that even as negative news events gain widespread coverage, acts of human kindness are everywhere – especially in the state of Tennessee. Many of us have personally witnessed these ourselves, whether in the form of volunteers sewing masks or friends picking up groceries for elderly neighbors. In these weird and wild times, there’s something comforting about the Volunteer State living up to its name.
In honor of Mental Health Month and Nashville’s volunteer spirit, we’ve compiled some of our favorite uplifting stories of human kindness during COVID-19. We hope they inspire you to believe in a brighter future for all of us.
Nashville Tornado Relief Efforts Continue
While sympathetic hugs or politician’s handshakes are now out of the question, tornado relief efforts have continued in spite of COVID-19. More than 500 people were accommodated in hotel rooms provided by the Red Cross, since mass shelters were not an option, and they have been fed catered meals delivered to the hotels (instead of at a large kitchen). Other volunteer organizations are making similar accommodations, restricting the number of people on a job site to the bare essentials. While logistics have gotten more complicated, volunteers continue to work hard to help their fellow Tennesseans to recover.
Support from Public Figures
Celebrities have gotten in on the relief efforts too. Country star Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have opened The Store, a free grocery open to those in need. The goal of this nonprofit is to enable food-insecure Tennesseans to shop for groceries with dignity and respect. Volunteers, interns, and staff have mobilized in the face of COVID-19, delivering food to high-risk elderly residents in affected communities.
Similarly, Oprah Winfrey has sought to support Nashvillians, particularly those in poor minority communities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. She has called Nashville her foundation, donating $2 million to provide immediate food relief to underserved communities.
In lieu of traditional cap and gown ceremonies, Nashville-area schools have transitioned to drive-through graduations for high school seniors, middle school graduates, and even younger children. For all, this event marks an incredible milestone that should be celebrated by other students, parents, and members of the community. This video of Pearl Cohn student Dontrail Spencer’s emotional graduation ceremony has gone viral, and for good reason – it demonstrates just how important these parades can be.
A Semi Truck Dumped Like 40,000 Pounds of Mac & Cheese on I-24
This one is more of a side note. Is this technically good news or a story of human kindness? No. Did this ridiculous headline make us laugh? Yes.
Photographer Raises Money for Nashville Humane
Local photographer Wendy Jo O’Barr has begun offering pet portraits to raise money for the Nashville Humane Association during COVID-19. Her professional photographs are taken from a safe distance, but they capture the unique personality of each animal – and raise funds for those in need.
Running Errands for High-Risk Neighbors
East Nashvillian Sarah Townsend Smith posted on social media asking for high-risk neighbors to email her with any errands they needed done. She received an outpouring of support from others who wanted to help pick up groceries and prescriptions for those in need. Today, she’s connecting high-risk individuals with a large pool of volunteers, making a difference in countless lives each day.
Brighter Days Ahead for Nashville, TN
Whatever your experience during the coronavirus outbreak, we hope you’re safe and able to seek out good news like the stories above. These are just a few of our notable mentions – there are countless more… you just have to look for the silver lining.
Webconsuls is a full-service digital marketing agency with offices in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.