Learning Kindnesses

School is mandatory for so many reasons but if graduates come out knowing how to be kind that is an added bonus. One Manhattan teacher – Christine Drago – has been using the coronavirus pandemic to work just that. The PS 20 Anna Silver School Phys. Ed. Teacher who has been teaching at the school for the last eight years explained:

“You’re a teacher, you’re a coach. Sometimes you’re a guidance counselor. You are listening to problems they have. You are a friend. You play a lot of different roles.”

Drago has seen many different needs emerge during this time from this underserved community. Her response has been to approach local organizations and formulate regional partnerships. This has resulted in food distribution to the needy including roasted chickens, produce, eggs, and grains which are being delivered every Friday. As for her students Drago has been putting out workout videos for them that they can do with their entire families to get them up and move. One example of this was when she made a Tic-Tac-Toe tutorial and her students sent back videos of their whole families engaging in it.

Other people also seem to be naturally moving toward acts of kindness as Amanda Hess wrote last month in The New York Times with the “clapping” that has been taking place in different neighborhoods in thanks to healthcare workers. She explained:

“It’s a cliché to describe a performance as “life-affirming,” but here the description feels true. I like it for smaller reasons, though. Like many New Yorkers, I don’t know most of my neighbors, and I’ve found myself using these few minutes every night to gather clues to their domestic lives. I notice who emerges from sprawling multistory brownstones and who from apartment buildings. One night the man with the pot was joined by a companion banging her own kitchenware. Another time, the spaniel failed to appear, and I reveled in my exaggerated disappointment. Did the dog have a previous engagement?”

Earlier on in the COVID-19 crisis an Associated Press meeting led to photojournalist Sally Stapleton’s promotion of a story of a Norwegian homebound woman who had used her Facebook page to ask for birthday greetings for her children. The response worldwide was incredible. And then there was the case of the New York college student who had to go home once classes were suspended and ended up organizing 1,300 volunteers in three days to help with deliveries for shut-ins.

Over this time, Fox News has assembled 700+ web- and TV-based stories under its ‘America Together’ banner.

SoHo’s Service in the Time of COVID-19

During this challenging time for many, there has simultaneously been a great deal of kindness and goodwill.  At the end of last month, local eatery Chobani Café followed suit.

Offering healthy fare of sandwiches, nutritious yogurts, fresh produce and more, the Café has now become a temporary food pantry for the entire community.  Anyone in the neighborhood is welcome to come and enjoy free food during this hard time.  They are “here to help.”

Following the social distancing guidelines and safety in order to beat COVID-19 the restaurant is open twice a week to hand out free products and support families and workers.  It is now staffed by both volunteers from #BeAShepherd and its regular employees.  The idea right now is to “give back to [the] local neighborhood and donate nutritious food to those in need.”