Though much of the South is riding the coaster of the fourth COVID-19 wave, here are 9 ways to show kindness and hospitality during the ongoing pandemic.
Can we all agree that the world could use a little more kindness these days? Between politics and pandemics, the strings of our mama hearts have been pulled and tugged and stretched for months on end. We have all witnessed suffering and sickness on some level—many of us from the front lines of our jobs or from family or friends we know who have been stricken with COVID-19.
And while we may not all agree on politics and vaccines, the past 18 months have taught us that community matters.
Fellowshipping with friends and family matters.
Sharing our personal victories and losses with others matters.
Offering a sense of place and belonging to those around us matters.
Until COVID-19, I will admit, I took my community for granted. It was a prime example of not realizing how much you value something until it’s gone. Many of us—along with our kids—were forced to adapt with one Zoom meeting after another. It wasn’t perfect, but we made do.
Finally, this past spring and summer, we began to move forward into normalcy. Virus cases began to decrease as warmer temperatures increased. We spent the warmer months frolicking with friends poolside. We sent our kids to fun-filled summer camps. We finally took those vacations we’d postponed the summer before.
And then the virus changed course again.
Now, as much of the South is riding the up and down coaster of the fourth Covid-19 wave, many of us are mourning the taste of freedom we enjoyed earlier this summer before school began.
The new pandemic developments have given me pause as I consider my social plans for this fall. My personal calling is to practice habitual hospitality, and these new COVID-19 developments put a kink in my plans as I ponder how to welcome others in my community while being mindful of their health.
Part of me wants to pull back and retreat—what many of us did when COVID-19 entered the scene 18 months ago. But retreating is not the answer. If anything, those in my community need support now more than ever. They need me to show kindness, not fear. My kids need to see me show kindness, not fear.
So instead of focusing on everything I can’t do, I’ll focus on welcoming others and offering connection in more unique (some might say antiquated) ways—ways that almost all of us can carry out in some capacity.
Ways to Show Hospitality In Spite of Covid-19
Send a handwritten note. Snail mail may not be as popular as text messages, but it sure does make a big impact on others when they know you took the time to pen a message of encouragement, hope, condolence, or thanks. This is one of the simplest ways to reach out and show kindness to those in your community.
Host outdoor dinners. Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy dinner with friends outside. As the mosquitos and heat retreat, fire up your grill or warm-up chili in the crockpot for all attendees to enjoy as socially distanced as they prefer. We gather up our patio chairs, folding table and chairs, and picnic table so that there are seats for everyone.
Gift fresh flowers. Dropping off a simple bouquet of flowers at the home of someone in your community can say so much without any words. Grab a simple bouquet at your nearest grocery store, pick seasonal flowers from your yard or arrange a planter of flowers from your local hardware store. For most women, the surprise of flowers will boost their mood in a split second.
Drop off home-cooked food. One of my favorite ways to serve others is to drop off food, whether it’s warm muffins for the neighbor down the street or a simple meal for a fellow mom who’s had a hard week. Oftentimes, I simply double the dinner I’m making one night so I can share some with a friend. Home-cooked food offers the gift of comfort and thoughtfulness. Opt for simple meals such as soups and stews that are hearty, but easy to whip up.
Order home delivery. If you’re in a busy season and home-cooked anything just isn’t happening, that’s ok, too! If you have the budget, consider ordering home delivery or dropping off takeout for a family in your community. All moms appreciate one less thing on their to-do list, especially during busy weeknights.
Plan to meet outside. From book clubs to Bible Studies to Small Groups to Friday Night Wine Night, the outdoors offers the perfect backdrop for your social gatherings. I’ve hosted events in our large gazebo as well as thrown a neighborhood block party in our cul-de-sac last fall. Meeting on decks, porches and at local parks are also great ideas.
Drop a book on a doorstep. I was recently blessed with the gift of two paperbacks on raising boys from a friend who knew I was struggling to discipline one of my sons. I was surprised and so grateful for her thoughtfulness. And the great thing is: I can pass on these parenting books to other moms once I’m finished reading them. Gifting a book to a friend lets her know you are thinking of her specifically and are invested in her life.
Party at your fire pit. Once the temperatures cool off, you can bet that friends in your community will flock to your fire pit. Hand out individual skewers and let your guests roast everything from hotdogs to chunks of pineapple to marshmallows.
Deliver a care package. If you know of someone in your community who is struggling, think about dropping off a personalized care package. If they have Covid-19, include a basket of tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, cough drops, soups, teas, etc. Or better yet, if they have kids, send a busy basket of activities to keep the kids entertained while mom and dad recover.
As we continue to navigate the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I realize it’s still possible to live a full, meaningful life, embracing my charge of hospitality to provide an atmosphere that beckons community and connection.
One of my favorite phrases from Barbara K. Mouser urges women to be “a patron of the things that count.” No matter what is happening in the world around us, there is always a small deed we as women can do for others to show hospitality and kindness—because, without a doubt, community and connection count.
What is your favorite way to show kindness or hospitality to those in your community during COVID-19?