Tell Ms.: Communities Come Together as Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens

Public health officials have warned that the global outbreak of COVID-19 is going to get worse before it gets better. Major U.S. cities have begun “sheltering in place,” images of empty grocery store shelves have flooded social media, Americans across the country have self-quarantined and the United States healthcare system is at serious risk of being overwhelmed in the coming weeks.

But amidst the panic this pandemic has wrought, stories are emerging every day of neighbors going above and beyond to help one another in this time of need and lending a hand to at-risk, elderly and immunocompromised folks in their communities.

Now we’re asking our readers to let us know how their communities are coming together.

Click here to tell us: How are you taking care of one another during this unprecedented time? What are some creative ways you’re staying connected? How are you or someone you know showing up for the most vulnerable members of your community?

We’ve rounded up a few stories from social media and news reports that might inspire you below.

Restaurant owners across the country are providing free or reduced-price meals.  

According to No Kid Hungry, more than 11 million children live in food-insecure homes. Across the country, local restaurant owners—facing uncertain financial futures themselves—are pulling together to provide free or inexpensive bagged lunches for students who might otherwise go without their only meal of the day now that schools are closing.

Shining a global spotlight on this need, Michelin-starred Chef Jose Andres is turning his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area into community kitchens, offering $7 meals to those who can afford it and flexible pricing for those that have been financially-affected by the pandemic, as well as the option for community members to donate a meal to those in need.

Individuals stories of kindness are being shared on social media.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has created a fund to support in-home care workers, nannies and house cleaners.

As reported in Ms., domestic workers are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak, often providing care to those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus or other illnesses. Since many care-workers are unable to self-quarantine without significant financial strain and do not have access to paid medical or family leave, the National Domestic Workers Alliance hopes to raise $4 million to provide emergency assistance to domestic workers across the U.S.

Click here to share how you or someone you know is making a difference during these uncertain times.

We’ll be rounding-up stories from across the country to share with Ms. readers in the coming days. 

The coronavirus pandemic and the response by federal, state and local authorities is fast-moving.

During this time, Ms. is keeping a focus on aspects of the crisis—especially as it impacts women and their families—often not reported by mainstream media.

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Maddy Pontz is a passionate feminist and storyteller. She’s currently a freelance writer and frequent Ms. contributor, and was previously the community engagement editor at Ms. You can find her on Twitter @MaddyPontz.