People in Kettering put bears in their windows for "bear hunts." CONTRIBUTED

Small acts of kindness go a long way: ‘We’re all in this together … just 6 feet apart'

Patience, thoughtfulness and reaching out all matter a lot

Intriguing times continue in the Dayton area as people grapple with how to behave and what to do during the stay-at-home order that went into effect several weeks ago.

Some people have decided to hoard necessities. Others are trying to stay socially active online. Then there are those who are trying to make these uneasy and chaotic times bearable for their neighbors and those in need.

>> READ MORE: Acts of kindness: 25 ways you can make someone’s day

For instance, after the run on paper products and toilet paper, many people are taking the time to post on social media, neighborhood apps like Nextdoor and just plain old texting to get the word out to others where toilet paper is available.

Joy Becker’s grandkids left chalk messages, cookies and cards for their relatives. The kids are Maddie, Wyatt and Carolyn Becker. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

“I feel sympathy for the scared people who started buying it up out of fear and significantly less sympathy for the people who started hoarding large quantities to re-sell for jacked-up prices. It’s unfortunate that it’s gotten to the point where those of us who were good and didn’t hoard are now scrambling to find anything,” said Celeste Mitchell of Kettering.

>> READ MORE: Pay it forward: Order 'Joe to Go' for our front-line workers

Fortunately for Mitchell, once the pallets of the fluffy white stuff were delivered to Meijer one day, a friend texted her to let her know. Mitchell took off for the store. This simple act of a text was much appreciated by Mitchell.

“I threw on shoes and ran out to the car without bothering to put on a jacket or change out of my ‘work from home’ clothes, so now all of Meijer has seen me in sparkly jeggings and an astronaut cat T-shirt. But it’s all good,” she said.

Another post on the Nextdoor app asked people if they needed toilet paper because someone ordered a large amount from Amazon and started giving it out to those in need.

Making masks for those in need

Laquitta Herbst of Centerville has been hard at work sewing masks to help her niece who works in the Miami Valley Hospital respiratory department. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

Another act of kindness that has been popular is making masks for those in the health-care field. Laquitta Herbst of Centerville has been hard at work sewing to help her niece, who works in the Miami Valley Hospital respiratory department.

Other members of the family are helping as well by dismantling furnace filters to retrieve the needed materials, ironing it to flatten it and then cutting it to size so they can be used as disposable filters in the masks.

This story came from Michael Wheeler in Kettering, who is Herbst’s son-in-law. He gave a very simple answer when asked, why are they doing this?

“Because that is what good people do,” he said. They “see a need and fill the void.”

Keeping the community connected

Joy Becker’s grandkids left chalk messages, cookies and cards for their relatives. The kids are Maddie, Wyatt and Carolyn Becker. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

A mantra of the coronavirus pandemic is “we are all in this together.” The phrase is true, but also odd since people are mostly by themselves. Mental health and staying connected is important during these quarantine times.

In the Kettering community, there have been “bear hunts.” Neighbors are putting teddy bears in their windows, so that children can spot them out on walks. Numerous bear pictures are popping up on the Nextdoor app.

Kettering resident Maddie Callahan has been participating. “When I first heard about the bear hunt, I thought it was such a thoughtful idea for all of us to get involved while still following all of the pandemic guidelines. I loved that people were so willing to do something positive for each other, kids and adults alike,” Callahan said.

While putting a bear in a window seems a small thing, Callahan believes these small acts can help people feel less isolated and alone.

>> READ MORE: ‘Bear Hunts’ have made their way into Dayton neighborhoods

“Spending so much time in our houses and avoiding public areas as much as possible can make you feel a little disconnected — but seeing our neighborhood come together for this emphasizes that we’re really all in this together … just six feet apart,” she said.

Another way kids are keeping in touch with their families is by delivering cookies and writing special messages in chalk on the sidewalks. Joy Becker of Kettering was surprised by her grandchildren one day.

Joy Becker’s grandkids Bradley and Jacqueline Becker hang Easter eggs outside of their great-grandma’s house. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

“The messages were telling us they loved us and missed us. It’s hard to be a grandparent and not be able to hug your grandkids,” Becker said.

Becker lives across the street from her mother-in-law, who is her grandkids’ great-grandma, Janet Becker. They left messages, cards and cookies for her as well. Their great-grandma is 92 and is affectionately nicknamed G Squared.

>> READ MORE: Dayton’s own Rob Lowe has message of support for his ‘Buckeye family’

Joy said her other grandkids have been hanging Easter eggs from the bushes. Small acts like this really made their day.

“The messages were telling us to have hope. God loves us and to stay safe. We both live on a corner. Everyone driving by could see,” Joy said.

Helping those who are still working

While many of us are stuck inside, there are essential employees working. Grocery store workers, food preppers and delivery drivers are out and about trying to stay safe from the coronavirus and still do their job.

Maria McGinnis, of Kettering, is a teacher, but also works for DoorDash in her spare time. She is teaching from home and delivering food to those who need help getting it. She said she has noticed simple acts that go a long way.

McGinnis said many people are giving larger tips, and even just giving her an extra “thank you.” She said many people are more patient. She once waited for a patron’s food for 40 minutes. She texted the person and told them about the delay, and she received an extra tip. And that’s extra money many people need.

“It feels good when you are appreciated, especially when anxiety is high at this time,” she said.

Do you have any other stories of acts of kindness? Email jessica.graue@gmail.com to share!

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