In Hard Times, 'Look for the Helpers'
In times of uncertainty and trouble, Fred Rogers would recount the story about watching scary things on the news as a child:
“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
As our world and nation face the pandemic of COVID-19, no one is left untouched, including rural people and places. Across rural America, resources are strained and local economies are hit hard. From small locally-owned shops and restaurants to community banks, local entities everywhere are facing the strain of closures and cancellations.
It is more important than ever that we become the servants our communities need right now. Even amid social distancing, there is more room than ever for the social compassion that fights fear and despair.
At the Rural Assembly, we believe in the power of people to find innovative ways to stay connected and hopeful. In that spirit, we have compiled a list of rural resources geared towards supporting your community and local economy during these difficult times.
In times of despair and crisis, may we hear the call of Mr. Rogers to be the helpers that hold our communities and our world together. Even the simplest of commitments, actions, and intentions can reverberate hope and compassion through a community. Thank you all for your commitment to community, to our rural places, and to each other.
Below, please find several resources for rural communities during the COVID-19 response. We will continue to add to this list, and we hope you’ll send us your favorites, too:
- The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide
- Rural Leader Resources from Rural Organizing
- Resources Related to Coronavirus and Rural Housing
- USDA Implements Immediate Measures to help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19
- Resources for Farmers Affected by COVID-19
- NRHA breaks down the stimulus package for rural
- Resources for Undocumented Immigrants and their Families During COVID-19
- COVID-19 in Rural America: This is the Time to Include, Not Exclude, Our Rural Communities
Additionally, many local communities and regions have local emergency response funds such as this fund in the Puget Sound region of Washington and this one in Central Kentucky to help those local organizations and entities hit hardest. If your community or region doesn’t have one, talk to local officials or your Chamber of Commerce about starting one.
How can we at the Rural Assembly help lift up your communities, voices, and needs during this time? What is your community doing to support each other? Your response to this moment informs our response. Send us an email or post resources on our Facebook page. Have a story to share about your experiences? Share them with us and the Daily Yonder here.