For all the negative news we’ve had to endure lately, we continue to be impressed at how quickly businesses and other community institutions have innovated and retooled to fill needs during this national health crisis.
It’s yet another reminder to never underestimate our collective determination to find ways around problems, even something pf the magnitude of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been the American spirit at its best.
“This truly is one of the most daunting challenges that our state has ever faced. But sometimes, the worst times, have a way of bringing out the very best in people,” Gov. Larry Hogan said at his press conference on Thursday. “And Marylanders are a shining example of that.”
Here in Frederick, we’re seeing all kinds of examples of how we’re adapting, despite how badly life has thrown us a curve.
Parents are now doubling as at-home teachers. People are making trips to the store to help their older neighbors who shouldn’t leave home at this time. And the community’s nonprofits are stepping up even more than ever to help our most vulnerable.
People from all walks of life are doing their best to adapt and help others. Take what two distilleries are doing, for instance.
Both Tenth Ward and McClintock have taken byproducts from their distilling process, added vegetable glycerin and scented oils, and produced hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer. They’re giving away these hard-to-find items to customers and local nonprofits.
With customers banned from restaurants and bars, many owners quickly switched to carryout and delivery for food and alcohol. To make it easy, several eateries are offering curbside pickup. The change keeps businesses operating and many workers employed.
Volt, the high-end restaurant owned by celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio, opened a pop-up shop in his restaurant on Thursday to sell some of his wine inventory. He’ll use the proceeds to pay bills and support his staff.
Churches have had their own challenge. During the busy Lenten season, attendance grows, particularly as we get closer to Palm Sunday and Easter services. But with gatherings of more than 10 people not allowed, priests and ministers are taking their services online.
“We are the church no matter where we are,” the Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, senior pastor at Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ in downtown Frederick, told the congregation in their final in-person service March 15.
Fitness centers are in the same boat. With them closed, some are organizing small groups in local parks or online to help people stay connected and on track with their exercise routines. Others, such as Odin Crossfit, allowed customers to borrow equipment such as dumbbells and medicine balls, to continue their workouts.
“This is where people come to feel connected,” said Odin Crossfit co-owner Allison Jachowski. “It’s their people. It’s their social hour. It’s their outlet. They’re concerned they won’t have that anymore.”
It’s that connection that we’re all looking for these days. No matter how much we’re told to stay inside, we’re going to long to be together. We long to help those who need the help. It’s just the kind of people we are.
“It seems like the people of Frederick are doing what they can to support the local businesses,” said Erika Brown, owner of Hippy Chick Hummus on North Market Street. “It’s beautiful.”
It certainly is.