This kept me up last night. It’s not that I worry about what Coronavirus will do to my immediate family that kept me up. It’s what it will do to the most vulnerable in our communities.
I think when the Coronavirus landed on Canadian soil an uncomfortable shift occurred for many. The “us vs. them” mentality started to shake and the idea that things like viruses, pandemics, and crisis happened “over there” was no longer true.
Social distancing is critical to controlling the speed at which this virus spreads. Controlling the speed of the spread is vital to ensuring our healthcare system can help everyone who needs help. Cancelling concerts and events, closing schools, and working from home when possible are all necessary steps.
I think at this time there is another “us vs. them” concept that needs to be addressed. It is one that I am being made more and more aware of through my work with the Food & Friends program and my exposure to the prevalence of poverty in Canada. There are people who will suffer more than we will as a result of the necessary steps being taken. There are people living in poverty in our communities.
Schools being closed for an extra 2 weeks may be inconvenient for many of us, maybe even a little anxiety inducing. But for many of our neighbours this news was down right devastating. Not only did it mean parents needed to find childcare accommodations that they maybe can’t afford or isn’t available, but it also means that 19,000+ children will not be receiving meals and snacks at school programs. Over 19,000 children are having their 1 guaranteed meal of the day suspended for an additional 2 weeks. Parents are now being pressed to stretch already thin budgets even further. These are parents that didn’t have the luxury of bulk buying toilette paper and sanitizer, because it wasn’t in the budget to begin with.
I don’t say this to take away from the fact that closing the schools was necessary. I say this to encourage us all to embrace kindness at this time. Social distancing does not mean stop caring. Now is a time for us to come together, maybe not physically, but in our hearts. If you can help out a neighbour or community, please do. If you know someone who is struggling, call and see if you can help. We need to look after each other especially in times like these, we just need to leave out the hugs and high fives.
Be kind, be well and help where you can.