Here’s how some Chicagoans helped each other during the pandemic’s toughest days
Like the woman who started radiation for breast cancer the day the COVID shutdown began and says of her neighbors, ‘People I had never met left their only supplies on my porch and asked for nothing in return.’
In the toughest times of the coronavirus pandemic, people had to rely on each other more than ever. And they routinely came through for each other.
That’s what readers told us when we asked Chicagoans to tell us about their experiences with neighbors helping one another during the past 16 months. Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
“My neighbors in Rogers Park picked up my prescriptions, brought me masks and Lysol, returned my library books because I was hesitant to go out.” —Ayani Good
“On my block, everyone helped our elderly neighbors with the yard work and lawn care. Good to see my neighbors doing good things.” — Mary Constanzo
“Sharing baked goods, exchanging magazines and checking on each other every other day.” —JoAnn Hartford
“Local restaurants in Bucktown, Wicker Park and West Town brought the community together to donate money for meals to those in need. There was a crew that bought out local tamale vendors in the morning, keeping them paid and warm. They distributed the tamales to the homeless, keeping them fed.” —Starr Spencer
“My neighbors cooked for one another, offered to run errands for others who were medically compromised.” — Tamara Fermaint
“We kept texting each other to make sure everyone was OK. And some offered to get groceries if needed.” — Linda Brons Douglas
“I bought a big pool last summer! With pools and beaches closed, I saved our summer. They said it was the best summer they had!” —Annie Lopez
“We seniors looked out for one another by sharing cleaning products and food. We shared masks because sometimes you had to go out. Meals on Wheels gave extra food boxes during the really tough beginning days of the pandemic. I don’t eat pork, so I shared what I didn’t need with others. We let each other know what stores had essential supplies so we could survive. And those on my block did. I did lose three friends to COVID who lived in other cities.” — Gale Watson
“I started daily radiation treatments for breast cancer on the first day of the statewide shutdown. My neighbors made sure I had hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, etc., when there was none to be found in stores. People I had never met left their only supplies on my porch and asked for nothing in return. People are still good!” —Anna Casey