The past few weeks have been difficult for a lot of us. I know that I can’t go more than five minutes without seeing the escalating turmoil caused by COVID-19, and with so many of us stuck at home, reading harrowing pandemic updates, stewing in our stress, and dealing with isolation, I think we can all benefit from a little positivity. It can be really, really, hard to find hope when it seems like the world is falling apart. So today, I want to share ten uplifting stories with you, and hopefully provide some relief from the heightened anxiety that many among us are experiencing.
1. Air Pollution has plummeted in major cities across the globe. In Wuhan, China there has been a 30% reduction in air pollution, Spain and Italy have seen their nitrogen oxide concentrations reduced by roughly 50%, and in the Bay Area there have been a string of green air days. Although the verdict is still out on the impact that staying at home has had on Utah’s air quality, it’s nice to know that Mother Earth is getting a chance to breathe. Go to page 10 in this month’s issue of CATALYST for more info about COVID-19’s impact on air quality.
2. Salt Lake Valley has multiple COVID-19 mutual aid networks. Mutual aid is the concept of neighbors helping out neighbors, it’s about solidarity and community. Both of our mutual aid networks are run exclusively by volunteers, and donations go back into our community through funding grocery trips, medical supplies, and supplying money for people in need. If you would like to learn more, you can check out Salt Lake Valley Covid-19 Mutual Aid or Salt City Helpers.
3. Professional Golfer Tony Finau is working with the nonprofit For The Kids to donate hygiene kits and meals to at-risk kids and their families. Thanks to Finau, For The Kids has been able to provide 500 students and their families with food every week, ranging from dinner items to boxes of cereal. With COVID-19 shutting down schools for the remainder of the academic year, low-income students no longer have access to school lunch or breakfast. Through this campaign, the most vulnerable folks in our community have one less thing to worry about. If you’re interested in donating or volunteering, click here
4. Utah women’s shelters are staying open. With residents spending so much time at home, people who experience domestic abuse are effectively trapped with their abusers. Shelters providing services and staying open during this time is vitally important when not everyone has safe place to hunker down. Find more details here.
5. Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development is offering loans to small businesses. Non-essential businesses have been shutting down, and to help combat the economic loss our small business owners are experiencing, the GOED is offering loans up to $20,000 with 0% interest for up to 60-months. This could make a real difference for our local mom and pop shops here in Utah and can help them overcome economic challenges during COVID-19. Click here to learn more about the program.
6. Two dentists in Holliday have been 3-D printing reusable face masks. The father-son duo switched from making 3-D printed dental molds to making customizable face masks with removable filters. The masks cost about $5 to make, and the duo are planning on donating them to those in need. If you have access to a 3-D printer and would like to print some masks, you can download the files to do so here.
7. Over $30,000 and 6,000 pantry packs have been given to families in need thanks to a donation drive organized by the Davis School District. Donors are given an option to give a general donation, or to give a donation for food assistance, basic essentials, or to combat homelessness. You can donate here.
8. In Pleasant Grove, Dave Hartle and his wife created a solar-powered mountainside display that depicts an outline of Utah with a heart in the center. The couple wanted to send a message of hope during the Coronavirus pandemic, and spent several days setting up directional spot lights to create the display.
9. The state of Utah is providing free childcare to healthcare workers, first responders, and public safety employees through a new program called One Utah Child Care. The program was created to ensure that essential workers have access to childcare during the pandemic, and facilities will provide free childcare until schools reopen. You can learn about the One Utah Child Care program here.
10. Local entertainment is going online. If you haven’t seen Modern West’s current exhibition, you can view it online here. If you’re looking for something a little more lively, from April 1st-5th you can stream Jennifer Nii’s play The Audacity for free on PlanBTheatre.org. If theater isn’t your thing, you can tune into the Hogle Zoo’s daily Facebook livestreams at 11am and check out some adorable creatures.