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This period in our current life can be a little scary and unpredictable at times. I know many fear for their families and keeping them safe, their family business they’ve worked hard to grow, and ensuring their loved ones have everything they need to get through the day. Still, everywhere I look our community has come together to support each other during all this uncertainty.

Northwood Volunteer Fire Company could be seen travelling through Northwood to remind everyone we’re all in this together, and the Nashua Fire Department is helping residents celebrate their birthdays.

Cresco Bank & Trust Co. is helping support local businesses by giving away gift cards every day and also treated staff at Regional Health Services of Howard County to some breakfast to thank them for all their hard work.

Many people are using their time at home to volunteer and make face masks for those who need them. These sewing groups are also sewing masks for local nurses. A few weeks ago, they were able to donate 350 masks. We have seen people stepping up to help supply face masks all over the district. Roeder Powdercoat and Machine have been making ear savers and donating them to medical staff and selling them to citizens, and St. Ansgar teachers are using 3D printing to also make ear savers and make the long hours health care staff are working a little easier.

Floyd County Conservation is trying to keep people busy at home, and community members are visiting those in nursing and rehabilitation homes by waving through windows and donating flower bouquets.

Charles City teachers keep their students engaged online, and even organized a ‘CC Spirit Cruise’ so kids and their families could come wave to their teachers, while high school teachers took their students’ art show online. St. Joseph’s community schools also organized a parade in New Hampton.

Northern Country Cooperative donated food to local schools that were packing lunches for families, and Shelby’s Southern Smokehouse was working to put together breakfast bundles for local residents. More than 5000 meals were distributed in a ‘mobile pantry’ by the Northeast Iowa Food Bank last week.

You can help your community in many different ways too. The Iowa Department of Public Health has issued guidance on making homemade masks for health care providers. You can also check with your local hospital on what specifications they have. Volunteer Iowa has a number of opportunities available for those who want to volunteer during the pandemic. American Red Cross is looking for people to donate blood. The Food Bank of Iowa is currently doing a fundraiser to raise money to meet the immediate need for meals for Iowans impacted in some way by the virus.

If you and your family are struggling to get necessary meals, a number of food assistance programs are available. The Department of Human Services has information available on how to apply for food assistance. At the Department of Public Health’s website you can learn about the WIC program, and the Department on Aging is also providing home-delivered or drive-through meals for Iowans over the age of 60. Food banks all across Iowa are working hard to provide meals for families in need. Iowa Homeland Security has a map of food banks serving your area.

I cannot express enough gratitude for the doctors, nurses, health care staff, and first responders working around the clock to help those patients afflicted with this virus, and doing what they can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state. For those who still have to go to work and are looking for childcare, the Department of Human Services has a map of facilities with spots available.

A number of constituents have contacted me expressing their desire to reopen the economy. I think all Iowans are looking forward to the time when we return to work, school, and social functions. I am optimistic we can proceed through this pandemic and reopen the economy in a balanced and responsible way in coordination with data-driven health care decisions.

There are a lot of good things happening in our community, and I’m proud to see how our citizens, businesses, and organizations have worked together to help us all get through this – and we will get through this. If you have more examples of someone doing good in your area, I’d love to hear about it. Please send me a message, and as always if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Waylon Brown

Author: Waylon Brown