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From porch picnics to student lunches, here’s what you said lifted your spirits amid the pandemic

Amanda Wheeler and Reilly Jennings wed in New York on March 20 after their wedding plans were derailed by the coronavirus outbreak. (Video: Katie Kaufman-Gibbons via Storyful)

As daily routines shift and the world adjusts to a new normal, several of our reporters last week shared what’s keeping them positive in this pandemic. Then we asked you to tell us about the uplifting moments and actions that you’ve heard about and witnessed — and you delivered.

Many of you wrote to us about the beauty and kindness that are helping you to stay upbeat, from walks in the park, to neighbors offering to buy your groceries, to spontaneous jazz performances. Below are 10 of the positive moments that you shared.

Want to tell us about more uplifting things? Fill out this form, and we may use your submission in our future coverage.

  • “My older brother owns a few restaurants in DC, Chaplin’s in Shaw being one of them. As you can imagine, they’re getting hit pretty hard. I live in Dallas, TX (grew up in DC and moved here for work) and wanted to support him, so I reached out to my high school friends (Georgetown Visitation!) and asked if I could order any of them some takeout. One suggested I send takeout to our other high school friend who works at the ER at GW. I asked my brothers and friends if they’d like to pitch in, and before you know it, our social network had put together over $1500 to send over 100 meals to the teams working in the emergency department at GW. They were super excited. It’s been awesome reconnecting with middle and high school friends from DC to come together to support our friends who are really affected by this horrible virus.” — Anna Williams (via email)
  • “Cecil County’s school lunch ladies and gentlemen, with the help of volunteers, prepared and delivered over 9000 breakfasts and lunches to students since our schools shut down this week. It is wonderful to discover this group that loves the children they serve. It is not just a job to them it is a calling. You can see this this happening in other school systems across the country by posts on Facebook.” — sally parks
  • “This has lifted my spirits in recent days” — TatianasGhost, offering a link to the video below
  • “We have a garden ... our neighbors have commented on how it has lifted their spirits. They lifted our spirits by acknowledging the garden.” — Castanet
  • “There’s a restaurant in Knoxville, TN named Yassin’s Falafel House. The founder and owner is a Syrian immigrant who came to the States in 2011. About 18 months ago, a joint project between Good Morning America, USA Today, and Reader’s Digest named it “The Nicest Place in America.” When the local schools said they were closing, he announced that any child on a free or reduced price lunch could get a no-charge lunch delivered, within a five mile radius of either of his two locations. He just asked for contributions from the public and delivery drivers. I’m sure lots of places are offering free food to kids who would lack for a good lunch now, but how many bring it to the door free?” — MarylandBear
  • “A pre-schooler on our block is filled with anxiety what with talk of disease and his school shutting down, so his parents are organizing a block porch picnic this Saturday. There will be music and balloons and we are all asked to come out on our porches, wave to him and to one another, have loud conversations across the block while the family’s protective yellow lab wags her tail encouragingly.” — cbl55
  • “Yesterday as I left the barren grocery store into a bleak morning, a high school student had set up about 40 feet from the entrance, safely away from anyone, and started blowing some funky jazz on his trombone. I immediately felt a whole lot better about the world and the people in it.” — JoeTheFormerReplumbercan
  • “My daughters and I have all spontaneously decided baking yummy things is at least one way to be happy while we stay at home more than usual. We are sharing recipes and photos via text messages. This is good.” — greenegirl
  • “I’m in the category of people that should no longer go out, but I had bird seed on hand and from the window my cats and I watch a huge variety of birds come to the feeders. That entertains us. The birds seem delighted as well.” — threadeater
  • “My boys and I have decided to take the dog for a walk somewhere different every day. Sometimes it’s been a long hike in a new state park, sometimes it’s just exploring the pathways in a neighborhood a mile away. We get out of the house, we see others from a safe distance, we get some exercise, and it feels like an adventure. The 12-year-old is even going on (which is a fantastic app, btw) to find our next walk! And for two boys both diagnosed with anxiety, there is nothing like suddenly realizing that all you can hear through the pines is the sound of the Patuxent River to heal troubled minds and hearts. The rest of the day may be rough, but we’ve found a silver lining. That, and ice cream, of course!” — kasd

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

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