In these dire times, as people are really worried about getting the coronavirus, it seems we all are potential targets, ready to be plucked randomly, without any regard to abilities, lifestyles, race, age or gender.
I was at a college reunion a couple of years ago and out of a class of 300, 32 had died. Their names were read off, and as I looked at the remaining classmates around me, I could find no patterns as to why they had died — no rationale — the football stars and sorority beauties, the nerds and the artists, the rich and poor, all had passed on.
The same is true today. We seem to be arbitrarily stricken. And now in this worldwide virus, we are worried and concentrated on those we care about — family, neighbors and friends.
But we need to also be concerned about those who suddenly lost their jobs because businesses have been shuttered — restaurants, beauty shops, shoe repair stores, cleaners, etc., many of whom suddenly have no incomes.
Here are some suggestions on how we may be able to help a bit:
— If and when that promised "up to" $1,200 a month is sent to those who qualify, perhaps we could donate some or all of it to food banks. If you and your family, especially those of you retired, don't really need the income, why not donate it to help feed others, to provide enough money for nonprofit organizations to buy food for the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the disabled?
I don't need the fed handout to eat, but others do — and if we all gave to food banks or local churches who supported the poor, what a wonderful opportunity to help, and what better time than now?
These government checks won't come for another three weeks, but we can plan ahead.
I was going to provide a list of reputable food banks, but thought it would be better if you decide where to donate and give money to those you think are most needy.
It's the least we can do as a local and caring community.
— I was talking to the man whose workers clean my house every three weeks. He has a crew of nine women who work five days a week for their entire wages. "Last week three of them worked twice during the week, the second group worked once and the third group didn't work at all," he said, "because people were afraid to have outsiders in their home. I understand, but I don't know how to pay my workers who depend on me to pay for their rent and food."
His crew did not come last Thursday but I told him I would pay for them anyway — and for their next scheduled visit. I'm not the only one doing this.
We should do the same for our gardeners, our hairdressers, our barbers, manicurists, restaurant servers, etc. They are going without any income, and I doubt they will get the $1,200 monthly grant promised by the government, so we need to keep on reimbursing them (perhaps by buying gift cards now that we can use later after they are working full time again), or purchasing takeout dinners from restaurants — just to help them get by now.
We are all in this together, and we all need to help everyone out as best we can.
Diana Diamond is a longtime Palo Alto journalist, editor and author of the blog "An Alternative View" on Palo Alto Online. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.