In uncertain and even discouraging times, leave it to morning network television to bring us an array of “feel good” stories to dispel a bit of the gloom. We wanted to pass along a few of these nuggets here on the AgingOptions blog to brighten your outlook just a bit. Hard times make some people cranky, but they can also bring out our generous and creative side. All these stories come from the website of Good Morning America.
CONNECTICUT: How to Celebrate a 67th Wedding Anniversary in Quarantine
When a nursing home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, prevented people from visiting due to the coronavirus, Bob Shellard, 90, knew he had to do something special for his wife, Nancy, 88, who was a patient there, on their wedding anniversary. So, Shellard, a retired graphic artist, spent three days making a sign for his wife. He used red felt and glitter to make a heart, and wrote in the middle, “I’ve loved you 67 years and I still do. Happy Anniversary.”
On the big day, Shellard stood outside the nursing home with his daughter, Laura, to surprise his wife, and when she saw, she smiled from ear to ear, blew kisses and told the staff she felt like a queen. “I tell my dad that she may not remember that we’ve been there, but it’s the feeling we leave her with,” Laura said. “It stays with her for the day.”
TENNESSEE: Art Teacher Brings Live Art Classes to 30,000 Self-Quarantined Kids Online
An elementary art teacher is bringing creative fun to young students who are out of school during the coronavirus outbreak. “I want to engage kids while they’re sitting at home,” Cassie Stephens, a teacher at Johnson Elementary School in Franklin, Tennessee, told Good Morning America. “I want them to experience art for normalcy. We are all scared, and confused.”
Over 30,000 tuned in Monday as Stephens demonstrated a robot art project for children via Instagram and Facebook Live. Stephens has been teaching art for 21 years. When she learned Franklin Special School District would be closed until April 6, she found a way to make art classes accessible virtually. “My email is flooded with thanks yous and kids holding up their art, and that means the world to me,” Stephens said.
NEW YORK CITY: Hundreds Volunteer as “COVID-19 Messengers” to Help Others
Emmalyn Sullivan, 26, from New York City, started the Instagram page called “Covid19_messengers” to enlist volunteers who are willing to run simple errands to help out those who can’t leave their homes. Since she started the account four days ago, over 200 people have signed up on Instagram to help run errands for those stuck at home due to coronavirus.
“I’m the kind of person that can’t not help,” Sullivan told Good Morning America. “I can’t see a problem and not fix it, but this is such a hopeless, helpless situation. How are you supposed to attack an invisible thing that is affecting everyone?” She added, “We’ve been live for three days and the amount that has been accomplished, the amount of help we’ve been able to provide – I’m in awe.”
NEW YORK AND SEATTLE: Opera Houses and Concert Halls Turn to Streaming
New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera recently began free live streaming with a performance of Carmen and quickly became overloaded with “unprecedented demand.” It was so popular that the traffic prevented some from participating online. (You can access the Metropolitan Opera live stream here.)
The online stream of Bizet’s “Carmen,” which was conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin in 2010, is just the first of many “Nightly Met Opera Streams” during the Met Opera’s coronavirus closure, where they’ll be streaming a different opera for free through their Met Opera on Demand service, which is reachable through their homepage.
Other musical halls across globe like the Berlin State Opera and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, began streaming their performances, too. Here in Seattle, home of AgingOptions, the renowned Seattle Symphony is also streaming concerts free, and response has been overwhelming. During the first week more than 130,000 people from around the world accessed the online concerts.
WASHINGTON: Chick-Fil-A Delivers Free Meals to Hospital Workers
A Chick-Fil-A in Vancouver, Washington, brightened the day of hospital workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center when they recently treated them to a free meal. On March 14th, the health care staff was working a busy nursing shift and taking care of patients when around lunchtime, an announcement was made over the hospital’s PA system that Chick-Fil-A would be providing free meals to show their appreciation.
According to one worker, Chick-Fil-A staff started bringing in bags and boxes of hot food. “There was just bag after bag and box after box,” she told Good Morning America. “It’s still helping me through the rest of my week.” Another woman said, “It meant so much to everyone there and I just started crying. It’s been such a stressful and emotional time.”
CALIFORNIA: Disneyland Donates Excess Food During Park Closure to Food Bank
Last weekend, after Disneyland announced it was closing its doors due to coronavirus worries, company officials announced that all excess food would be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Donated items will include dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, packaged goods, and banquet meals.
Hopefully these ideas will trigger some compassion and creativity on your part. Remember to stay safe and healthy and practice social distancing – but if you can reach out (figuratively) to encourage or support someone in your neighborhood, now would be a good time. Age on!
(originally reported at www.goodmorningamerica.com)