People have come together in inspiring and innovative ways to help one another thrive during these challenging times. What follows are just some of the examples of how communities have responded to situations created by COVID-19.
Businesses pivoted and changed their traditional business models. Many restaurants adapted their normal operating procedures to transition to drive-through, delivery, and carryout only. Clay County Economic Development Group went another step and adapted a “Takeout Bingo” game to support area restaurants.
Businesses also learned to use technology in new ways. Ellsworth County Economic Development created an online grocery ordering system for a local grocery store as a way to improve safety and efficiencies.
Local food banks/pantries have seen an increase in need for assistance. In response, several communities created initiatives to help fill the needs. Through the Caring for Cloud County program, the Community Foundation for Cloud County donated matching funds to local food pantries through a gift card/Chamber Bucks program. Concordia Chamber of Commerce, Cloud County Tourism and CloudCorp partnered in the program. A Caring for Cloud County 2.0 campaign will begin soon with additional partners from Clyde and Miltonvale Chambers of Commerce.
Grocery assistance to families in need is one aspect of Mitchell County Strong, a partnership of the Solomon Valley Community Foundation, Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce and Solomon Valley Economic Development. The program also helps get money back into the local economy through a gift card program. Even students have joined in the effort to support local organizations. The senior class at Rock Hills Jr/Sr High donated to Jewell County Helping Hands Ministries from funds they had been saving for a “senior” trip.
Continuous learning forced students and schools to adapt — and communities stepped up to help. Local Internet providers made sure students had the Internet access they needed to complete the school year. Teacher parades, yard signs, and virtual ceremonies helped celebrate the successes of students and graduates.
Communities created t-shirts, websites and campaigns quickly and with great success to benefit businesses, individuals and families. Neighbors helping neighbors has always been a foundation of North Central Kansas and its citizens. That spirit will be important as the region recovers.
This article appeared in the May 2020 NCRPC Newsletter.