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Guest Blog | Ideas for building community through service and compassion during the COVID-19 crisis

Anna Foshee, Director of Student Leadership and Service Learning

In times of strife, it is easy to pull away from others to focus on self and family and let outside concerns fall by the wayside. In the case of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, often we are not given a choice. We are being asked – sometimes mandated – to isolate ourselves from others. Self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing can feel challenging and lonely, but we must remind ourselves why we are taking these steps – not only to protect ourselves, but most importantly, to protect those in our community that are most vulnerable to contracting the virus.

By acknowledging this, it is clear that at the core, even acts of physical isolation, such as social distancing, are acts of service and compassion for our friends, neighbors and community members who are at the highest risk.

SPALDING COVID-19 PAGE | Resources and info for the students and employees 

Compassion and service, values Mother Catherine Spalding and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth promoted fiercely, are alive on Spalding’s campus today. I am confident that our students, faculty and staff can harness these ideals in the midst of this difficult and often unpredictable pandemic. In fact, we’ve already witnessed students combating the spread of the virus through acts of compassion, by relocating from the residence halls to off-campus housing and by foregoing athletic competitions that require interstate travel. I’m sure there are countless more examples that I am not even aware of.

These students are truly living out Spalding’s mission statement and “meeting the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.” Therefore, I challenge you to heed the call of service – to not only consider your own well-being, but to actively fight for the well-being and safety of your community as a whole. Because, isn’t a sense of community the thing we are truly craving during this time of isolation?

The steps necessary to halt the spread of COVID-19 have highlighted how physical isolation and solitude can overwhelm and dishearten us, but we must remember that now, more than ever, we need to stay connected to each other and to our communities.

During this turbulent time, please consider offering your time in service of others, to the degree you are able. Below are some opportunities for community service surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

Louisville COVID-19 Match Program

Louisville COVID-19 Match Program wants to spread a message of hope and compassion by serving and loving our neighbors who are at higher risk of complications of COVID-19. If you are a healthy young adult with low-risk factors for getting COVID-19, sign up today to be paired with an elder or high-risk member in our community who could use your help throughout this COVID-19 adventure. Learn more and sign up to be matched here: https://www.louisvillecovid19match.com/.

Dare to Care Food Bank

Dare to Care Food Bank is closely following developments with the COVID-19 challenge, especially for individuals who are food-insecure. The organization prioritizes the health and safety of our community, volunteers, and staff, and is taking extra precautions to safely respond to increased food needs during this time.

Dare to Care is accepting monetary donations (every $1 donated helps provide three meals) as well in-person volunteers. Dare to Care has limited volunteer shifts to 10 volunteers at a time and adjusted their usual volunteer model in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. All volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Learn more about how to support Dare to Care here: https://daretocare.org/covid-19/.

Kentucky Blood Center

Are blood donation sites safe to visit? Yes! Blood donation is an essential medical service and, therefore, blood drives are not considered a mass gathering. As a healthcare organization, safety is KBC’s top priority. KBC is taking extra precautions in light of the coronavirus, including social distancing, disinfecting donor beds and surfaces after each use, making hand sanitizer available at all donation sites and offering prepackaged snacks for donor refreshment. Schedule an appointment to donate blood here: https://kybloodcenter.org/.

Mutual Aid

Many cities and states are setting up comprehensive Mutual Aid networks to support their communities. Mutual Aid networks support communities in taking care of each other through sharing resources and skills, checking in on one another, and supplying family-like structure and support to those that may not have support otherwise. Learn more at the following links:

Lexington Mutual Aid: https://bit.ly/2Uwu9cp

Louisville Mutual Aid: https://bit.ly/2WCDWAA

Kentucky Mutual Aid: https://bit.ly/2xfLBu3

Youth Mutual Aid Fund: https://bit.ly/2QGayFD

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As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to upend our everyday lives, it can be easy to give in to fear, frustration and acts of selfishness. Humans are wired for self-preservation (which is a good thing!), but we must be careful not to let greed and self-interest get in the way of one of humankind’s most profound strengths – community

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