MONMOUTH — There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that frequently gets shared in times of turmoil — he said his mother told him to “look for the helpers.”
In the last couple of weeks of increasing information about the spread of COVID-19 and how to prevent it, those helpers have shown up in our communities.
Some of those efforts are popping up in a Facebook group Megan Moitoso started about a year ago to connect with other women in the Monmouth and Independence area — Women of Independence/Monmouth.
“It started as going to happy hour together then it evolved in to ‘I have this extra stuff in my house,’” Moitoso said.
Some members of the group meet in person for activities and often share items and advice for things like cheap meals.
The group still is mainly social, Moitoso said, but it has helped to build community with women in the area, and that has led to helping people when needed.
With grocery stores temporarily running out of certain items, some members have posted things they are out of and others jump in to offer what they can.
“The spirit of the group is one of community and support,” Moitoso said. “If you can’t connect in person, it’s a way to not feel so isolated.”
Group members set up a day to donate to Ella Curran Food Bank in Independence to help with the increase in requests the food bank is likely to see in the coming weeks.
Nicole Carlson, who lives in Monmouth, stepped outside of the group and out her front door to connect in person with some of her older neighbors.
“I was a little nervous going door to door, especially right now,” Carlson said.
She’s done that when her kids are selling something for school or asking for sponsorships, she said.
“We’ve met some incredible neighbors,” Carlson said. “We went to those people we met prior to make sure they know somebody is there for them.”
Carlson gave her neighbors a piece of paper with her and her husband’s names and contact information, and offered to do anything they might need — grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions.
“You could see the look on their faces, ‘please don’t come near me,’” Carlson laughed.
Some got teary-eyed, she said, they didn’t have anyone looking after them.
Carlson said the situation with social distancing and recommendations for people who are older or have compromised immune systems to not go out is good time for young and healthy people to step up.
Carlson is 31 years old and her husband Matt is 32.
“It’s what (we) should be doing right now,” she said. “They don’t want be around us, but we can still help them.”
She said it would be good if somebody in each neighborhood took a little walk and offered what they could.
“We have chickens,” Carlson said. “The grocery stores are out, but I still have eggs. It’s the least we can all do for each other.”
“Give when you can give and ask when you need the help,” Moisoto said. “There’s no shame in asking for help that’s for sure. There’s an army of us that is willing to help.”