BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN
ARTWORK BY ALEX BROWN
‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’ is my favorite Harry Potter quote from Albus Dumbledore.
COVID19 has done some incredibly horrifying things and brought about so much darkness – unemployment is catastrophic, the economy is still shaking while we sit and wait for the peak, and people are sick, isolated and alone. No one really knows when this will be “done” – we’re stuck in the dark, which is the scariest part of all. The unknown.
COVID19 has also made Winston-Salem remember to turn on the light.
Over the past few weeks, members of our community have stepped up and out to care for others. This isn’t at all an exhaustive list – if you are aware of other organizations and individuals that are “turning on the light” for folks in Winston, please reach out to us and we can continue to direct attention and support to those folks who are making a difference and keeping Winston-Salem united.
Please note – this list does not include the countless individuals making things possible – folks that work in grocery stores, teachers running digital classes, city workers, health care professionals and more. We thank each and every one of these individuals for their essential contribution.
WSNC Service Industry Support
This online Facebook exclusive group was organized within moments of massive layoffs and closings. Miss your favorite waitress, bartender, barista or service industry friend? Join the group and find out about immediate needs, virtual trivia and game nights, local support and community.
Project Mask WS
Also immediately organized, this plucky group of volunteers are creating masks like machines. You might have seen them featured on the local news or on your Facebook feed. These masks are for Health Care professionals that submit a request form via their Facebook group. With designated “Mask Caves” around Winston-Salem for drop off and pick up, the group has 497 volunteers, delivered 3911 masks, obtained $5,579 in donations and have requests for 11,035 masks as of Tuesday, March 31.
Machine Gun Graphics
Local small businesses are taking a hit and shuttering already, with no end in sight. Machine Gun Graphics is working with businesses and organizations and printing as orders come in, setting up sale pages and handling all transactions. Orgs can either collect a per shirt “profit” income or donate – for example, Fearless is donating all proceeds to Family Services.
HEARD Collaborative Café @ Providence Kitchen
Located in the former BB&T building downtown, this group is offering Monday – Friday lunches for hospitality industry employees negatively impacted by COVID19. Operating only on volunteers and donations, the kitchen is opening up their free lunch to members of the performing community who have lost gigs and venues starting April 1st.
Started by Timothy Beeman and Lea Metz, this one stop shop offers resources and information as well as a link to restaurants that are still offering curbside, takeout and delivery. “Folks can help by eating out,” said Beeman, “Remember to tip even when doing take out, someone had to put that together and we know restaurant/food pay is next to nothing. When this is over, do a lot of dining out.”
Winston Salem Symphony
If you’re having any feelings about this entire situation, be ready to cry watching “Rainbow Over Winston” dedicated to the unsung heroes in Winston-Salem during COVID19. This musical message was prepared right before our Shelter-in-Place Order took effect, and looks to the other side of this crisis with hope. Truly, we are stronger together.
Keep turning on the light, Winston-Salem. All the hugs on the other side.