Community’s social togetherness in times of physical distancing
With COVID-19, we are facing a threat that is disrupting every aspect of our daily lives. The unknown will always prompt initial fear—dread of scarcity and the instinct to survive. We’re told to keep a distance, that people could unknowingly be contagious, and to stay away and hunker down for the long haul.
Still, the sun continues to rise. The snow melts and fear transforms into an understanding that we need each other to continue to live full and meaningful lives.
Social media initiatives have been in bloom since the first indication of scarcity. Neighbours are offering supplies, resources, deliveries, or just a comforting word.
This rebirth of community—aptly dubbed caremongering—can be found everywhere online. There are city-wide groups on Facebook like YEG Community Response to COVID19 and CareMongering – YEG. Community league pages and groups have sprung alive, using hashtags of #offer #referral and even #ALLR (A Little Light Relief).
Communities like Parkdale-Cromdale have a dedicated blog, a lively community group, and suggestions on how to come together and populate these forums. So far, Parkdale-Cromdale Community League has hosted a virtual pub and games night and over 30 people logged in. The community also has some neighbours opting to use ca.Nextdoor.com, a social media platform to communicate not only issues, but also to connect talents, resources, and information. The app includes a map, which assists in connecting with others on your street.
As well, local neighbourhood Facebook groups have turned into platforms for people to reach out, either to ask for or to offer help.
While the policymakers continue to grapple with how to support and provide for the most vulnerable, such as those experiencing homelessness or those with mental health and addiction issues, it is becoming clear that the broader community understands that everyone, regardless of economic status, needs support at this time.
There will always be those who look to benefit from their stockpile of toilet paper or garage full of hand sanitizer, but our communities are actively coming together and looking for policies and resources to ensure no one is going without or is at risk.
Featured Image: COVID-19 has brought online communities together. | Pixabay