Making the Best out of Shelter in Place – Aili Makela

During these unprecedented times, people across the world have been looking for new activities to help pass the time while we all remain socially distanced. My family is no different; when I returned home after the rest of my school year officially went online, I was struggling to fill all the extra time I suddenly had in my day. Meanwhile, I have a cousin who works at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who has been working tirelessly to help treat those infected with COVID-19.

When my mother and I saw my cousin’s Facebook post with a link containing instructions on how to sew medical masks that Froedtert Hospital would accept as PPE donations, I suddenly found a new activity to fill my free time. Within a few days, my mother and I had sewn nine masks and sent them to Milwaukee.

Since then, we have continued to sew masks to send to the rest of our family who are considered high-risk in order to help protect them when they leave their homes. When my cousin received her masks in the mail, she texted us to let us know how much she appreciated our effort and that the package had brought tears to her eyes. We plan to continue sending her homemade masks for as long as Froedtert continues to accept donations.

In these uncertain times, it’s the little things that bring joy to people’s days. At times we may feel helpless, that there’s nothing we can do to fight this crisis and that we’re stuck sitting in our homes until we get the all-clear everything is okay again. That isn’t the case. We can take advantage of the time we have to accomplish all sorts of things. Whether it be sewing masks to send to hospitals and nursing homes, checking in on high-risk neighbors and making grocery runs for them, video calling old friends, checking in on college seniors who lost their last semester of school or simply spending more time with family, these next few months are full of opportunities.

While we all stay at home in order to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, don’t feel that all is lost. There are still small things that we can do to help those who need it. These may be uncertain times, but I am certain that we will all come out of this with a newfound appreciation for the little things in life.

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