I was at Oak Point, my local grocer, here in South Louisiana. I needed some basics for the home and figured I would go ahead and get some groceries for the week. Monday is coming up, and everyone knows that’s a great day for red beans. I pushed my cart to the dry bean aisle to find three. I laughed. Louisiana has priorities in light of potential quarantine: toilet paper, sanitizer, and red beans. I was filled with pride, but all jokes and memes aside, it’s important we use a level head and consider all the unintended consequences of work, school, and event closures.
This is tough. It’s a danged if you do, danged if you don’t situation. It is however, important. Many families depend on those school meals. Parents may not have off work, they have zero childcare. So choosing between a paycheck and kids being home is impossible. Kids fall behind in important curriculum.
Where as I don’t have a solution for all, community support is more important than ever. Here are some ways you can help. Get to know your neighbor, not just on your street but put yourself out there. Can you have one more kiddo at your house while the parents are at work? Can you pick up some things like instant soups, bread, peanut butter, and jelly? Can you deliver it to the street for school lunches? Reach out to your local food banks, find out what they need and how you can get resources to the families that need them. Utilize resources like Kahn Academy for math and even YouTube for curriculum. No internet? Draw, color, get outside and collect leaves, bugs, and plants. Talk about them. Create things. This is a great time for kids to get creative with their time and talents. After all, unused creativity is not benign. It manifests as frustration and anger.
This breaks my heart. I am fortunate enough to work remotely 95% of my career. I am a minority. I encourage business owners to foster a “work from home” environment. I know this is not possible in many cases. Again, get to know your neighbor? Do you need some virtual help? Hire your friend who may be on unpaid time off. This will greatly impact paychecks, alternate cooking meals, red beans, jambalaya, gumbo … it’s a great time to share the love (if you are healthy and haven’t been exposed).
Small businesses are/or will be struggling. Please still support them in anyway you can. Comment on their social media posts, go rave about them. Shop online if you can. Make sure when they are able to reopen or you’re able to visit them you do. Do what you can to keep the front of mind awareness for support when and where you can. Consider purchasing a gift card to spend later from local businesses. If a local business offers shipping, local delivery, or pick up call or go online (where offered) and shop from them instead of Amazon.
There are consequences here that go far beyond missing a fun time. Many non-profits are the creators of 5Ks at this time of year, or brunches, etc. This funds much of their efforts. When an event is cancelled and they need to refund ticket holders, sponsors, etc., it crushes their funding. If you are able to support a non-profit at this time, please do.
I know that I missed a lot of things. I am 100% a mom, business owner, and healthy female who is naive in many ways. I would love to think that we are in a panic, but the truth is I would love to keep our communities healthy physically just as much as financially. Tough decisions have to be made by the powers that be. The consequences can be vast, but as a community we can support each other. After all, we survive floods with no names, hurricanes, oil spills, an unpredictable oil & gas industry, and so much more. We are Louisiana. We rock in times of chaos and disaster.