To be frank, it is nearly impossible to avoid bad news these days. It’s the nature of a world that is being ravaged by a worldwide pandemic. It’s the nature of living in a country that, in this writer’s opinion, has proven to be ill-equipped to protect many of its citizens.
But there is another side to this madness. One that shows the absolute brightest side of humanity. The above quote from Mr. Rogers was first relayed to millions of children and parents in the United States in the wake of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968. Always one to see the best of what human beings had to offer, Mr. Rogers had a unique ability to see through the fire and communicate clearly and effectively to people of all ages, not just children.
That quote has remained evergreen in the decades since in the face of natural disasters, violent conflicts, and national tragedies. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting humans through their greatest test yet, Mr. Rogers’ words ring truer than ever. It is imperative that we take a break from the turmoil, and look for the helpers.
There are so many people across multiple industries who are helping in this situation. The most obvious being those on the front lines working in doctors offices, hospitals, clinics, and anyone else whose primary job is to take care of those affected by the virus.
There are also those essential workers who provide necessary services to keep society running, including grocery store workers, bank employees, post office employees, and custodial workers.
For this article, I want to focus on the helpers from the hockey world. With the NHL season on hold, many teams, individual players, and media members have focused their efforts on helping where they can.
It started in the immediate aftermath of the postponement of the NHL season. Teams (all but one, anyway) started announcing that they would pay their employees through the remainder of originally scheduled regular season. Every one of these teams is owned by a multi-billionaire, and seeing them use their resources to take care of those most affected by the shutdown was a great first step.
Teams have also begun working directly with their local communities to help ease the effects of the pandemic. The Anaheim Ducks held a drive-thru food bank last Saturday with Second Harvest to give much-needed food to those most in need of assistance: those who have lost their jobs or low-income families struggling to provide for themselves and their loved ones. This drive-thru food bank will be held for the next three Saturdays.
Honda Center has teamed up with @SecondHarvestFB to provide a drive-thru food bank for those most impacted by COVID-19. Today at Honda Center, 4,000 bags of food were distributed. Food Distribution will continue on 3/28, 4/4, & 4/11. Visit https://t.co/l7VKMT7CEc for more info. pic.twitter.com/DQyvvuOk9n— Honda Center (@HondaCenter) March 21, 2020
Chicago’s United Center, in collaboration with the Bulls, the Blackhawks, and Project Cure, hosted a Personal Protective Equipment drive yesterday to collect medical supplies like gloves, goggles, and masks for medical personnel.
In collaboration with @ProjectCure, @ChicagoBulls and @NHLBlackhawks, we're hosting a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) drive on Sunday, March 29 from 12PM to 4PM— United Center (@UnitedCenter) March 27, 2020
For full details, visit: https://t.co/zqaVAtWV17 pic.twitter.com/4JIapT0Sgq
The Los Angeles Kings, Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs were among teams who donated their excess arena food to local food banks, while Tampa Bay Lightning players pledged 500,000 meals to those in need during the outbreak.
Individual players have also pitched in. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has donated $100,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which benefits local nonprofits serving the city’s most vulnerable.
O Captain!— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 26, 2020
Through his personal foundation, @JonathanToews will commit a $100,000 donation to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. pic.twitter.com/tH33DTtali
Goaltender Henrik Lundkqvist of the New York Rangers and his wife Therese have also announced that they will commit $100,000 to the Food Bank for New York City, the part of the nation that has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Henrik and Therese Lundqvist Announce $100,000 Donation to Support Food Bank For New York City https://t.co/ISzJxg0S52— Blueshirt Banter (@BlueshirtBanter) March 25, 2020
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and his wife Angela are donating $50,000 to the Breakfast Club of Canada emergency fund to help feed children across the country who are lacking for food during the pandemic.
Even hockey equipment companies are jumping in to help using their areas of expertise. Montreal-based Bauer, which makes every kind of hockey equipment imaginable, will be converting some of its production lines to making protective visors for healthcare works caring for those who are sick.
Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage.— BAUER Hockey (@BauerHockey) March 25, 2020
Right now, we're all on the same team. We're repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/pBiZuUWdVl
Now, more than ever, we need to come together and unite as human beings the world over to help some sense of normalcy return as quick as possible. The world may never be the same once we move through the worst of this outbreak, but seeing these helpers devote time and resources to the most vulnerable of our neighbors belies a glimmer of hope and a bright beacon in the darkness of our world currently suffering from this pandemic.
The most important thing for everyone right now, if possible, is to take social distancing and self-isolation seriously. Stay indoors, only venture out when you absolutely have to, and maintain your distance when you do. If you have to go out, wash your hands frequently and practice good social distancing habits. Even more importantly, be kind and thank those you interact with who are helping society get through this, like medical professionals and grocery store workers.
Of all the characteristics people have, empathy might be the most important one right now. Have empathy for those who are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, those who are working to keep us going, and even your friends and family you are quarantining with. Everyone is struggling to some extent right now, but being empathetic to everyone in your life, no matter what they are going through, is one of the best ways you can be one of the helpers that Mr. Rogers referred to.
Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. These teams, players, and organizations have been some of the best examples of helpers during this time.