A New Term Emerges to Describe Kind COVID Acts

'Caremongering,' the opposite of 'scaremongering'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2020 10:40 AM CDT
A New Term Emerges to Describe Kind COVID Acts
Volunteers prepare food boxes on Monday at the Westmoreland County Food Bank in Delmont, Pa.   (Nate Guidry/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

The coronavirus news can be depressing stuff, but a spate of stories is emerging as a counterpoint—strangers helping strangers, particularly the most vulnerable. In fact, the term "caremongering" is catching on to describe what's going on. Some examples:

  • Scared seniors: In Bend, Ore., 25-year-old Rebecca Mehra tweeted that she was walking into a Safeway supermarket when an elderly couple in their car, too scared to go inside, asked her for help with their shopping. Mehra provided it, and her tweet has been shared more than 100,000 times. "I think that this was just kind of a small light in a dark time, like a nice story of kindness that inspired a lot of people. I'm grateful for that," she noted, per USA Today. See her interview on CNN.
  • 'Angels': A pre-med student at the University of Nevada-Reno, organized volunteers from her medical fraternity to do shopping for older local residents more vulnerable to COVID-19, reports CNN. After local media reported on Jayde Powell's "shopping angels" idea, the movement took off. She's now trying to coordinate volunteer shoppers across the country through Facebook. She also launched a GoFundMe page for the needy.

  • That new term: The BBC notes that "caremongering" is being used to describe volunteer efforts across Canada. About three dozen Facebook groups have quickly sprung up across the country to connect those who need help with those who can provide it. As for the term: It comes from organizer Mita Hans, who explains: "Scaremongering is a big problem. We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other."
  • Small concerts: In Columbus, Ohio, two young cellists—9-year-old Taran Tien and his 6-year-old sister, Calliope—put on a porch concert for their 78-year-old neighbor, Helena Schlam, who is self-quarantining at home as a precaution. See the video here via the Columbus Dispatch. Schlam kept to the other side of the porch, more than 6 feet away, and she arranged for her grandchildren in Israel (also self-quarantining) to listen in, per the Washington Post. Elsewhere, serenades in Italy have generated lots of buzz, and a tenor who sang for his neighbors explains that "music can lift spirits," per Fox News. See his serenade here.
  • A thank-you: In Seattle, a subscriber to the Seattle Times sent pizzas to the staff working long hours to report on the outbreak in hard-hit Washington state, reports Woman's Day. The magazine rounds up other acts of kindness.
(More coronavirus stories.)

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