ISHPEMING — Ever since Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order went into effect, U.P. neighborhoods have been quieter than usual.
During a time when people are stocking up on items for themselves and practicing social distancing techniques to stay safe, one local official is encouraging people to check in with and offer help to their neighbors by sharing Hello Neighbor cards.
It all started when City Council Member Lindsay Bean was trying to think of a way to reach out to her neighbors.
“I was just getting ready to get a note and drop it in their mailbox, and I was trying to figure out what to write,” Bean said. “And then pretty much at that moment, someone shared on my Facebook page a screenshot of a similar card that had been shared in the UK. And I was like, ‘That’s perfect! That’s exactly what I need.’ It makes it easy; you don’t have to figure out what to say.”
The cards provide your neighbor with contact information and a list of items or services you’re able to assist them with. Council Member Bean says that just knowing that there are people around who care and are willing to help can be a great comfort.
“It’s super uncertain. It’s kind of scary at the moment for a lot of people,” said Bean. “It’s just nice to know that there are other people out there and, even if you don’t need the help, that help is there, and to just have that connection with somebody.”
The Hello Neighbor cards are available to download and print on Council Member Bean’s Facebook page. She says a few local businesses have even put them on display as well.
She hopes that these cards will help to keep everyone safe and healthy, particularly those most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“Our population is about 25% seniors 65 and older. The state of Michigan is closer to 20%. So we have maybe a higher than average number of older people. COVID-19 seems to be hitting older people harder than younger people. So I think it’s especially important for us to be doing that. And I think the more we can get the word out about letting people help you, it also helps with the message of, ‘Please don’t go anywhere if you don’t need to.’”
Council Member Bean also wants to remind the community to take the coronavirus seriously, to stay home as much as possible, and when anyone does need to shop for food or supplies, to shop locally. To download the Hello Neighbor cards or to see more of what Council Member Bean is doing to spread kindness and awareness, click here.