In the wake of Covid-19, the world, and the countless communities within are all finding new ways to connect in a time of limited connection. When social distance can start to feel like real distance, neighbors around the world are organizing ways to connect their communities and values creatively and respectful of the new social norms. From coordinated daily stretching in front yards to volunteering as personal shoppers for the at risk, ways to labor in love are prevalently popping up all around. Below we have comprised a list of five acts of kindness to kick start your local community's heart game. 

Hearts - If you have noticed the windows in your neighbor looking a little extra crafty, it's not just you. A wave of crate paper hearts and inspirational messages have filled many windows in many communities already. The hashtag #Aworldofhearts and #wereallinthistogehter have crept across social media as demonstrated ways for residents to send messages of hope and love safely to their fellow community members. In Granite Falls it seems every home’s windows are filled with colorful connecting messages of support and kindness. Its easy to get in on this, with a little office supplies and initiative anyone can make their home windows into a billboard of hope.

Pick up Trash - This one is as simple as it sounds. Whether walking around the block, riverfront or at your local park, trash is a sad state to encounter.  Take a garbage bag on your next adventure and clean up a section of your community. In Granite Falls last week, the recycling center off of highway 212 was a sad state of debris. One local resident took a couple hours to make a world of difference by cleaning up the site, and preventing more litter circulating in the wind.

Evening Hello - This may sound wild but once upon a time most communities recognized a set time of day to wind down,  about 6:00 p.m.. Parents calling the kids in for super, sometimes guided by a town timed dinner bell or a yell from a loving parent bellowed out the front door. The present possibly couldn’t be a better time to bring back such Mayberry like comforts with a new twist. At 6:00 p.m. in your own neighborhoods, take a moment to step out your doorstep and ring your bells, convey a proud cheerful hello to your neighbors or maybe just a vigorous wave. Create a tradition of evening greetings or fill the wind with chimes of connection like the Granite Falls dinner siren of the sixties did. It may be just what your neighbor needs to remember, friends are just around the corner. 

Choirs/Errands - We all have a neighbor, possibly elderly or possibly highly at risk of the harms of Covid-19 due to a preexisting condition fearful to leave the germ free environment of their homes. May you happen to be one of the ones outdoors, soaking up any vitamin D you can get.  Take this time to ask those more cooped up, if you can rake their leaves, pull their garbage can up from the curb, weed their garden or offer to pick up their prescriptions and other helpful errands.  

Reach Out - From hosting online watch parties, to posting videos and photos of at home kids crafts, there are so many ways people are sharing their experiences and lessons learned in this time of simplification getting back to basics in at home entertainment. 

What you share online today could be someone else's fun activity tomorrow. We are all learning together. BUT maybe social media isn't your thing or a watch party sounds like something you only do when NASA brings out a new shuttle to launch, that is okay. For the less digital but brave friend makers of the world, try fearlessly posting your phone number in your front home window, you can even include a time frame of when you are taking calls. Take a chance that a neighbor needs someone to talk to, maybe someone driving by loves your window display and wants to say how much it meant to them. Be brave. Your effort to connect today could save a neighbor tomorrow who is sick, alone or feeling the blues of social distancing depression.