I have been working from home since March 13, 2020, which means I haven’t had a lot of social interaction in a long time! While I am happy to stay home in order to help flatten the curve of coronavirus, the extrovert in me cannot help but crave social interaction from others. On top of that, the humanitarian in me struggles to sit at home and feel as if I am doing nothing when I see so many in need. Because of this, it did not take me long to find ways to help my neighbors and interact with my neighbors while still social distancing.
The first thing I did was create a community cupboard with my fiance. Our community cupboard is a small cabinet that we keep on our front lawn filled with food, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and other essentials. We welcome anyone in our neighborhood – or anyone at all – to come to our little community cupboard and take whatever they need. We recognize that in this time of crisis, many people are unable to safely go to a grocery store to get essential items and so many have lost their jobs and may not be able to afford to get them. Our community cupboard is completely free and a safe place for people to grab the essentials they need. The best part is that other people in our neighborhood have begun adding items to our community cupboard, truly making this a neighborhood effort.
The next thing we did was put a small table by our front door under our mailbox. On the table, we placed toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. We made a sign that says “Mail & Delivery People, THESE ARE FOR YOU!” We recognize that these essential workers make staying at home possible for us and that their health is at risk every single day. From the mail carrier to the Amazon delivery person to the FedEx man and our pizza deliverers, everyone is welcome to take what they need to make their life a little easier. We have received notes of thanks from delivery people, many happy waves through the window as they grab hand sanitizer, and one mail lady even left a bone for our dog to show her appreciation! Even though we cannot get near these essential workers, this helps us to feel connected to them.
The most recent thing we’ve done is to create a game in our front yard for people to play when they walk by! The game is called “The Great Debate.” The way it works is everyday we write a new “this or that” question on a whiteboard and place it on a table in our front yard with small stones for our neighbors to move in order to cast their vote. For example, our first Great Debate was Cake or Pie? We wrote “Move a stone to cast your vote for Cake or Pie” on the whiteboard with arrows pointing to the left chair for cake or the right chair for pie.
As neighbors walk by throughout the day, they stop to see the question and cast their vote. Every day is a new question and it’s become a hit in the neighborhood. Neighbors have even thanked us for bringing a little joy to their lives during this pandemic.
We’re always thinking of new ways to help others and connect with people during this time of social distancing, so I can’t wait to see what we think of next!
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.