How does the City of Good Neighbors combat isolation and self-quarantining in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic?
By being good neighbors. Obviously.
Acts of kindness have been prevalent. Similar stories circulate from area neighborhoods of residents leaving notes on nearby doors, offering everything from household goods, shopping trips, medication refills and more for those who cannot leave the house.
From not-for-profit organizations to philanthropic restaurants to a flexible fitness community, the Buffalo area is well stocked with compassion.
• Barrel + Brine, Kabab & Curry and Clay Handi are three local restaurants who've offered free meals, with the first offering free bagged lunches (PB&J sandwich, apple, juice, granola and chips) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those interested are asked to direct message Barrel + Brine on Facebook for pickup details.
After schools announced their closings, Barrel + Brine founders RJ and Lindsey Marvin quickly noticed impediments – schools turning down kids over 18 for free lunches, not-for-profit organizations that remained closed and a general fear of grocery stores – hindering young people from eating lunch, and they felt called to act.
"We got into this business because we love preservation, and at the heart of preservation is community. Families and villages got together and preserved food for the entire village so no one would go hungry when things got difficult. That doesn't change now, and it will never change for us," Lindsey Marvin said.
Lindsey Marvin said Barrel + Brine didn't do this alone, however, as a number of community members donated goods, as well as Buffalo businesses: Buffalo Cheese Traders, Produce Peddlers, Perfect Granola, Breadhive and Buffalo Alternative Therapies.
✊FREE LUNCH FOR THOSE IN NEED✊-Monday - Friday 11am - 1pm we will be offering a no questions asked bagged lunch for...
[Read more: Cantina Loco is one of first to give back to medical personnel, industry workers]
Kabab & Curry, an Indian restaurant in Williamsville, will offer free meals as long as it can, aiming to last until April 20, when kids are tentatively expected to return to school.
There's a small menu for these free meals, which should be ordered before 11 a.m. for lunch and before 5 p.m. for dinner. Orders are placed through a form, with one posted for each day on the business' Facebook page.
"When I took the business over 11 months ago, everyone in the community welcomed me with open arms," said owner Maninderjit Singh, who's in the video below.
"We knew we had to find a way to return the favor," he said. "I knew schools would work hard to prepare meals for students and parents, but they could use some help."
Starting Tuesday, March 17 Kabab and Curry will be giving food to anyone having a hard time during the coronavirus Pandemic. Please contact us and share our message. The more people we reach the more lives we can help at such a tough time. We ask you follow our guidelines to insure the safety of our staff, and your own well being. Thank you and God Bless.
Posted by Kabab and Curry on Monday, March 16, 2020
Clay Handi, a Pakistani restaurant at 3054 Delaware Ave. in Kenmore, is doing something similar to Kabab & Curry by offering 200 platters each day to people who are out of work. Each meal is simple, with a Pakistani meat curry served with rice, but the generosity was greatly appreciated, to the tune of nearly 1,000 Facebook shares.
Clay Handi Restaurant( A Pakistani Restaurant) didn’t bring just a taste of real food from Pakistan 🇵🇰 but it brings the...
• Buffalo-area gyms have joined forces through the efforts of RockPile Athletics, which started the @Buffalo_Fitness_Community Instagram page that's awash with instructor-led workouts, warm-up suggestions and motivating messages, all while curating updates from gyms across the city, ranging from Harborside CrossFit to HealBFLO and more.
An idea long before this week, the fitness community effort – the brainchild of RockPile partner Madeline Reale – simply needed a purpose, a reason to launch. Covid-19 was the spark, Reale said, and her CrossFit gym's strong pre-existing relationships with its peers – and even those with slightly different practices (yoga and barre studios, personal trainers) – helped them facilitate quickly.
"Thanks to the camaraderie of local gyms, now Buffalo has the opportunity to try new things, connect with businesses they didn’t know exist and virtually work out with people they’ve never met in this time of social distancing," Reale said in a message. "All in all, in times of struggle, the very, very good in people comes out – and that’s exactly what’s happening with this page.
"People are losing jobs, people are getting sick, and families are facing tougher times. In the end, though, the best thing we can do is take control of the things we can change and keep ourselves happy and healthy – that is the intent of this page."
[Related: No-excuses exercises – stay fit while staying inside]
• A small Clarence school has made a compassion-driven change for those in need. Roots of the Future Montessori School, at 8970 Main St., Clarence, has converted its Little Free Peace Pole Library into the Little Free Peace Pole Pantry, wrote founder and director Anna Liuzzo in an email.
Instead of free books, the tall cabinet now holds packaged food that's been donated for families struggling amid the Covid-19 pandemic. For those looking to drop off more supplies but find the pantry full, a bin has been placed on the side porch by a red door.
• Fantastic Friends of WNY cares for a specific population: families with special needs individuals. Even for those who've never interacted with Fantastic Friends before, the organization – which opened its first center at 1284 French Road, Depew – has offered any family with a disabled person in need to choose from a list of goods and pick them up from the headquarters.
Along the same lines, Autism Services CEO Veronica Federiconi has shared a social story, which gently and clearly explains what's happening in the world and how to react, for autistic kids home from school.
• The Buffalo Zoo has been helping in a different sense: amusing, well-produced video content. Just check out Dallas the seal, who truly adores fish on Fridays (and most days, one would think).
Nobody enjoys fish on Friday's more than Dallas! 🐟🐟🐟
Posted by The Buffalo Zoo on Friday, March 20, 2020
"In the coming days and weeks we will be providing activities for children that they can do at home or in their backyard, as well as exploring the different areas and animals of the zoo," said Communications Manager Christian Dobosiewicz. "We also hope that we can provide content that can be an escape from the stress of all the COVID-19 news."