To say our country has changed is perhaps the understatement of the year.

Four weeks ago, parents were worried about making sure their children got to their activities. High school seniors were making college visits, and college students were enjoying freedom from their parents in the comfort of their dorm rooms.

Restaurants were open. People gathered for happy hour, families went out for a meal out together or workers crammed in for a lunch service away from the office.

We went to the grocery store whenever we wanted, be it to pick up a forgotten ingredient or to grab the items to make something we craved for dinner that night.

And shelves were stocked. Toilet paper, disinfecting wipes and dried pasta weren’t in short supply.

We went to the mall, the gym or the movies whenever we felt like it or needed a break from the rigors of our day. March Madness and the start of baseball season had sports fans excited.

In short, we lived our lives without thinking about all of the things we did daily, on our own individual schedules, unaware of what was to come.

Now, we sit. We stay away from others. We venture out only if it’s necessary, some by order of Pennsylvania’s governor, others because they fear catching COVID-19.

Many are learning to navigate the unemployment compensation system for the first time in their lives.

These are more than merely “challenging” times for millions, yet they are the times that will show us what we are made of, and the times that have and will continue to bring out the best in so many.

A multitude of Fayette Countians have opted to show their best in the face of adversity, responding to this pandemic with love, compassion and kindness.

Too many restaurants to name are donating meals to students, the homeless, or shut-ins. Organizations and individuals are making and donating masks. People are stringing Christmas lights to bring cheer. Photographers are documenting families’ days as they adjust to remote learning and working from home.

Churches are offering online services so the faithful can continue to feel spiritually connected. Neighbors are helping neighbors with trips to the store or by preparing meals.

Facebook pages (Fayette Area Coronavirus Assistance/Needs Availability and Fayette County Fights Covid-19!!) have been established to connect those in need locally, with those willing to help.

And that’s just a short list of the many things happening right here in Fayette.

As we’re forced to slow down, so many have used it as an opportunity to be of service to others.

When this crisis is over, bonds will have been forged or renewed through our spirit of shared struggle.

Eventually, we will be able to emerge from the forced isolation that this virus has caused, and those bonds must endure.

These times that are difficult for all, will have been devastating for some, and it will be more important than ever that we continue to prop one another up with the same love, kindness and compassion so many have shown these past few weeks.

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