Call us old-fashioned? We are okay with that.
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Whenever something bad or scary or frightening is happening in the world, there’s a famous quote from Mr. Rogers that starts to be shared online. When Fred Rogers was a child, long before he was Mr. Rogers, host of the beloved children’s television show, his mother would tell him that in times of crisis to “look for the helpers” and “you will always find people who are helping.”

That advice is an excellent way to soothe the fears of a child during anxious times. However, as adults it is up to us to step up and be the helpers in those situations. As coronavirus sweeps over the planet and self-isolation is named as the best means of protection, adults may be hoping to help handle fears, support the community, and spread Southern kindness and hospitality.

Here are a few ways to spread love and kindness, but not germs, to our communities and be the helpers Mr. Rogers—and our mothers—wanted us to be:

  1. Self-isolate. According to all the health experts out there, the best thing you can do for your community is to stay home. This one act will help stop the spread of the virus and keep more vulnerable members of your community safe. It’s truly the kindest thing you can do right now.
  2. Mail a favorite book to a friend. While Amazon or Walmart are easy, choosing to shop from a local or independent bookstore can give your kind deed an added boost. Check in to see if your favorite shop is accepting orders online or over the phone.
  3. Pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor. To avoid face-to-face contact, call or leave a note for folks you know who may be more at risk from this virus, including the elderly, the immunocompromised, or single parents who may not be able to run to the store. Drop the groceries off on their front porch and wave from the car.
  4. Send flowers to someone in isolation. Find a local florist and have them send a bouquet to people who might need a pick-me-up, which is probably everyone at this point.
  5. Support local restaurants and shops by stocking up on gift cards as future gifts. Small restaurants and local shops are definitely feeling the pinch. Stocking up on gift cards are both a nice gift for friends and family but can also help local small businesses stay afloat.
  6. Call, FaceTime, or Skype someone. Everyone is bored and isolated right now, so reach out! You’ll probably both feel better by the end of the call.
  7. Send toys, coloring books, picture books, or other activities to small children in your life who are undoubtedly restless in isolation. Even better if the gifts come from local shops.
  8. Tip generously. If you are picking up take-out from your local restaurant or coffee shop, or having someone deliver food to you, be sure to tip as generously. These hard workers are risking their health to bring you food.
  9. Send favorite movies to friends. Did you know you can send a movie via iTunes? On iTunes, find the movie you want to send, right click on “buy”, and you’ll see “send as a gift”. Alternatively, send a someone a gift card for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, or Hulu.
  10.  Donate resources. If you have non-perishable food items or household goods like, say, toilet paper, cleaning products, or sanitizers to spare, donate to local food banks or shelters. Of course, it’s always a good idea to call and ask what they need before dropping off items.
  11. Donate money. If you can afford it, donate to charities and organizations that are doing the good hard work right now of keeping people healthy, fed, housed, and safe.
  12. Write a note. A real note on your real stationery to an old friend, a grandparent, or someone you haven’t connected with in a long time.
  13. Say “Thank You” In order to keep local stores and restaurants and healthcare centers open, people do need to report to work. While we should always be kind, give them an extra smile and thank them for their work.