When Kindness Counts
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 has brought darkness, worries, unprecedented stress for healthcare workers and first responders, toilet paper shortages, and food rushes at every grocery store in town, it has also brought out so much light, love, and kindness in our beloved city. While families learn how to juggle working from home all while homeschooling their children, people all over Fort Worth are stepping up to find creative and impactful ways to help others.
Restaurants all over town have been hit hard. However, many have found ways to rise to the occasion and help those in need. From deliveries to hospitals to packaging affordable ready-to-go meals for families, they have shifted their focus. Melt Ice Cream launched “Happiness for Heroes.” Customers purchase discounted scoops of ice cream online which Melt delivers to healthcare workers. Funky Town Donuts shared that a group of friends purchased 360 donuts and 360 donut holes to be delivered to local hospitals. Downtown stalwart Reata has been paying servers to work at the food bank, as well as making sure that employees’ families are fed. In addition, owner Mike Micallef donated meals to 175 Fort Worth police officers. Chef Tim Love closed 14 of his restaurants and is serving free meals for anyone who has been laid off or is simply in need of a hot meal. Longtime favorite The Lunch Box serves box lunches every weekday to those in need. With the new magical margarita delivery option, Joe T. Garcias has been staying busy, but they are also feeding our local ER doctors and nurses who have given so much of their talent and energy to keep our city healthy and safe.
Some of the most impactful outside-of-box ideas are coming out of local distilleries like Blackland Distillery, Acre Distilling, and Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. These Fort Worth companies pivoted from distilling award-winning liquors to producing hand sanitizer in order to donate this much-needed liquid gold to the medical community.
Many members of the Tanglewood Moms Facebook group are sewing and donating face masks to our local healthcare workers. Shannon Hart, Jessi O’Connor, and Bree Linne have joined this effort, with major props going to thirteen-year-old Haley Hooper, who has sewn over 50 masks to donate to patients at Cook Children’s, Texas Oncology, and supported living centers. Other members, like Jami Layman Alkhayer, have purchased gift cards from struggling local businesses to donate them to families in need. In addition, the countless mom-to-mom posts in the Facebook group offering homeschooling resources, links, and advice for navigating this new adventure with our quarantined and oh-so bored children provide invaluable reassurance and comfort.
Drive through any Fort Worth neighborhood, and you will see chalk art showing what neighbors are thankful for scattered along the sidewalks. Neighbors like Kathryn Perry and her family in Mistletoe Heights have been taking their traveling family orchestra (better known to neighbors as “The Band Perry”) around to their senior neighbors to play a few songs for them from the sidewalk. Christmas lights have been hung to cheer up littles on a car ride, stuffed bears peek through countless windows so children can go on a “bear hunt,” and neighborhoods are posting outdoor scavenger hunts the whole family can participate in while socially isolating.
Local photographers are offering front porch photo sessions. Families can choose a specific time during the day to have a photographer come by and photograph the family in their quarantine best from a safe distance away. Many photographers donate the proceeds from these sessions to local charities. Keller-based Chelsea Davis Photography, for example, chose to donate to the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
The United Way of Fort Worth, Hear Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Film Commission, and Visit Fort Worth have partnered together to launch a creative industry relief fund to help support actors, musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers who have lost work. Coffee shops and restaurants like Avoca Coffee Roasters and Twilite Lounge have virtual tip jars for their employees. Countless local musicians are playing virtual live concerts and are asking for donations for local charities in need.
The heart and soul of Fort Worth is its people. These are unprecedented and scary times, but if you look for the good, you will see it everywhere. There are random acts of kindness happening all over our city, and it’s comforting to know that not only are we are in this together but that we will come out of this stronger and more tightly-knit than ever before.