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Staying Positive and Finding Hope During Tough Times

When we all look back on 2020, coronavirus will be the one word that most of us remember. Yet there’s another word that’s quickly emerging from the uncertainty, confusion, and darkness: hope.

We might be physically farther apart than we’ve ever been, but humanity is binding together in unprecedented ways. Turns out, when we aren’t allowed to be near our neighbors and loved ones, we love them even harder from afar.

These might be tough times, but they aren’t futile. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen some incredible acts of kindness and generosity that deserve an equal time slot on the evening news.

Today, we’re sharing just a few of the ones that have captured our hearts, strengthened our faith and buoyed our spirits. Read on for the feel-good stories that will help you remember we’re all in this together.

Visits From a Virtual Princess

Trips to Disneyland are the stuff childhood dreams are made of, but the recent crisis has put these excursions on hold for a while. Still, that didn’t stop Charlotte Bredael from helping to spread light and cheer.

Bredael, 18, is a small business owner from Newcastle, England who attends children’s parties dressed as princesses. When she read Facebook posts from parents whose children were devastated over a Disney cancellation, she sprung into action.

Donning her work costumes, Bredael has filmed more than 20 videos from her home, impersonating beloved characters, spreading joy and sending well wishes. Now, families around the world are tuning in to get a virtual hug from some of their beloved Disney favorites.

A Pint-Sized Serenade

With older adults listed as a high-risk category for coronavirus, many senior citizens are self-quarantining. Still, this doesn’t mean they have to be alone.

That was the thought Taran Tien, age nine, and Calliope Tien, age six, had when they visited their 78-year-old neighbor Helena Schlam to serenade her from afar with a personal cello performance. Donning a suit and pink dress, they took their instrument onto her front porch in Columbus, Ohio and set up a private concert.

They picked the time, 12:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16, because that’s when Schlam usually speaks to her grandchildren in Israel. With their plans for a springtime visit now thwarted, the grandkids got to take in the show with their grandma via FaceTime, and the Tiens got to see firsthand what neighborly love is really about.

A Faith-Based Food Drive

With schools out across most of the nation, many faith-based communities are rallying together to support low-income students and their families who might be struggling without access to the regular meals that the cafeteria provides.

To help fill this gap, Texas’ Lake Pointe Church has initiated a major project that spans all six of its physical campuses. For weeks, the church has handed out boxes of free food on Mondays. During set hours, anyone can drive into the church parking lot and receive boxes of food without leaving their car.

From pasta and canned foods to peanut butter and jelly, the boxes are filled with family-friendly staples. To date, the church has given out more than 5,100 boxes and has also taken its mission on the road, delivering food to nearby apartment complexes for residents unable to make the trip.

A Drive-Through Birthday Surprise

It was little Nova Mckenna’s birthday, and there weren’t a lot of local dining options open. Her mom, Morgan, decided to take her for a celebratory drive-through dinner at their local Chick-fil-A.

After ordering her daughter’s dinner on the mobile app, Morgan added a simple question in the “Special Requests” section: “Can you sing happy birthday?” When she pulled around, employees inside the drive-through were all gathered at the window singing to Nova, who accepted her kid’s meal with happy tears streaming down her face.

In a post that’s now gone viral, Morgan shares the special moment, adding that she, too, was crying with gratitude.

An In-Flight Graduation

Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada had to cancel its graduation ceremony due to the outbreak. As four seniors from the volleyball team returned home after a national championship, the crew at WestJet made sure they still felt celebrated.

Briercrest chaplain Joelle Epp joined with flight attendants to direct an impromptu ceremony in honor of the students. With “Pomp and Circumstance” playing over the speakers, the students walked in a processional, received diplomas, and cheered with Kit Kats.

#Solidarityat8

Healthcare workers are at the front lines of this pandemic, diving straight into the chaos instead of social distancing from it.

To show support and gratitude for their selfless service, a new Twitter campaign has emerged. The #Solidarityat8 hashtag is trending worldwide, and for good reason.

The premise behind the movement is simple: At 8:00 p.m. every day, go on your balcony or open your window and cheer for those service workers. The public is responding in droves, and in beautiful ways.

In India, residents are blowing into conch shells and banging on pots and pans. In Turkey, they’re whistling and clapping. All around the United States, people are celebrating on their porches, singing, and flickering lights to show support. For at least one hour every day, we’re all joined together in a collective chorus of thanks.

Finding Hope and Promise, Even in Tough Times

Especially in times of tragedy, it can be easy to laser-focus on the negative. However, this is also when the most heartwarming side of humanity emerges.

These are just a few examples of how one single act of kindness can spark a fire of love and generosity. As we all make our way through and out of these tough times, may we emerge gentler, softer and more understanding of our neighbor than ever before.

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