Letter: Helping out during pandemic

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To the editor:

As the vibrant life in the beautiful Berkshires shuts down with the coronavirus precautions, there are things we can do to protect the institutions and businesses that mean so much to us here. I am doing some of these things and you can too:

1. If you have paid for tickets for concerts, fundraisers, events don't ask for a refund. If you can, just consider it a donation to the organization. If this is a hardship for you, consider taking it as a pre-payment for a future event. As someone who ran large international events for years, I can just imagine how much stress the mostly volunteer staffs answering the phones and emails are under. Anything you can do to make their lives easier in this difficult time would be welcome. If a performing organization is offering live streaming online, enjoy it and make a donation to the organization to thank them.

2. Take a look at Berkshire Grown's excellent message about how you can support local food vendors, farmers, and restaurants. One very good suggestion is that you buy gift cards from these businesses. It is an infusion of cash right when they need it, and you use them when things get back to normal.

3. Check on friends who are self-quarantined or in high-risk groups. Offer to shop for them and even if you can't visit them, arrange to leave packages and supplies at their door or at the front desk of senior residences, nursing homes, and rehab centers.

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4. Look for volunteer opportunities if you can do it safely — hospitals, clinics might need retired medical personnel to come in and help with the emergency. The People's Pantry and other food services might need volunteers to make deliveries. Local businesses might welcome some help if they are short-staffed and trying to stay open.

5. Don't hoard supplies. You don't need a six month supply of toilet paper or hand sanitizer (if you can even find it!).

This is a very stressful time; let's all be kind and considerate of each other and we will get through this challenge. Hopefully, we will all be happily picnicking on the lawn at Tanglewood in just a few months.

Malvina Wasserman,

Great Barrington


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