Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

P Shopper Columns


The recent spread of coronavirus is unlike anything I've witnessed in my lifetime. That being said, this is not the first pandemic of its kind and is not likely to be the last. While this doesn't make the virus any less serious, it does offer an opportunity for reflection. I recently stopped at a Food Lion, Walmart, Target, and Dollar General, all of which were unusually crowded for the time of day. Some people wore face masks; all shoppers looked overwhelmed. Entire aisles were barren. Not a single store had a roll of toilet paper or loaf of bread. For a moment, I found myself in the shoes of someone else- someone whose city had been devastated by a natural disaster, perhaps, or someone struggling to afford their own basic needs. There are many things I have been blessed enough to have never gone without. The lack of resources and the financial and emotional strain of suffering from illness- these are burdens that, even in times of normalcy, some individuals experience daily.

The virus itself did not cause these goods to disappear from our grocery store shelves; escalating panic and dramatic stockpiling did. Now many have more than they need, while most go without. This is distressing and problematic for the average healthy adult, let alone those who are providing for infants or the elderly, who are ill themselves, and whose professions produce crucial goods and services for our community. As social isolation becomes our best strategy to spearhead the fight against the spread of the disease, many small businesses and individuals alike will be hit hard in an already struggling economy.

"When I was a boy
and I would see scary things in the news,
my mother would say to me,
"Look for the helpers.
You will always find people who are helping.'"

- Fred Rogers

Current events bring to mind a quote by Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" I already see them. Amidst all the chaos, individuals and businesses are offering free meals to children, groups have set up food pantries to aid those who are struggling, and many are publicly volunteering assistance with shopping and delivery to the elderly. By caring for those in need, we remind each other that we are not alone. Despite all the precautions we may take, no one is guaranteed protection from exposure. What we can guarantee is our support of one another. Feelings such as helplessness should serve to remind us of how powerful it is to seek and give help; of how much we can accomplish together. I pray for everyone's health and safety in these hard times. I pray we find strength in each other.

Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.