07 N1205P65006CThere’s an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And so, Fayetteville, here we go. Things seem pretty bleak. As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the healthcare system, the economy and the nation’s morale, not surprisingly, this community’s generosity and ingenuity have kicked into high gear. You don’t have to look far to see examples of goodness and selflessness. Read on for inspiration, ways you can help and resources to stay informed.

Lend a hand if you can

Small businesses are pulling out all the stops to continue serving their customers. If you are able, consider supporting them by purchasing gift cards, ordering products online, using curbside services or leaving a positive review online.

Nonprofits and arts organizations are struggling as well. If you have a season ticket or pass, consider donating the balance for the remainder of this season. Purchase tickets for next season, support their online efforts, make a donation or leave an online review. 

Call or text your neighbors and loved ones to check on them.

Do your part to stop the spread. Stay home if you can. Wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Social distancing … together

It’s hard to support your favorite downtown establishments when it’s not clear what is open and/or in what capacity. Downtownfaystrong.com provides an extensive list of downtown businesses that offer online services, curbside pick/takeout and delivery. The site includes phone numbers. A few phone calls and voila — a date night/an intimate family brunch becomes as easy as a jaunt downtown.

The site also offers space for businesses to register to be included on the list. It also includes links to several organizations that support small businesses, including the Small Business Association, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, the Golden Rule Charity and more.

It’s spring. The warm weather usually comes with a flurry of fun activities and gatherings. With schools and many businesses closed, we are urged to hunker down at home and practice social distancing. It might mean stay home, but it doesn’t mean disengage. Several local organizations are taking their programs online or introducing “to go” versions of longstanding programs. Here are a few.

Kidsville News! is a local educational resource for grades K-6. Visit kidsvillenews.com to view the flagship edition.

Cape Fear Regional Theatre has temporarily closed its doors to in-house performances through the end of this season while ramping up its online offerings. Virtual weekday “edutainment” classes offer online courses for students in grades K-5. Classes begin March 30 and include music, interactive storytelling, theatre, art and more.

The Virtual Spring Passport Series for military children uses Zoom Meetings to provide an introduction to theater and playwriting. There are several sessions available.
Every weekday from 3-4 p.m., join free classes, via Zoom Video Conferencing, as CFRT artists for classes on a variety of topics, including acting, dance, voice and more.
Visit http://www.cfrt.org/ to learn more about CFRT and its many programs.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden has started a video series called “The Garden Minute.” The series features a peek at springtime in the Garden along with tips, virtual tour, gardening how-tos and education. The Garden is currently closed for visitors through March 31. Find out more at https://www.capefearbg.org/.

The Downtown Alliance has created a Social Distancing Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. Visit https://betsymacdesignco.app.box.com/v/SocialDistancingScavengerHunt?fbclid=IwAR06AfBK_IpxBmSwEoGBWpyVbKsnKgqBL5Pxb-i7xYbpHz7w4Etn3fX0_YU to download the graphic.

Downtown’s go-to paint-your-own-pottery store, Greg’s Pottery, offers premade Kits-To-Go. Visit the Facebook page to see what’s available and how it all works. Pick up your kit (on Wednesdays only) via curbside service. No substitutions. The kit includes seven glaze colors.

A long-time resource for parents, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum has taken to Facebook to offer a plethora of activities for children. From screen-free ideas to crafts, fun recipes and science experiments, the museum offers parents of young children plenty of ideas for staying busy at home.

Kidcreate Studio in Westwood Shopping Center has at-home art kids with online instructional videos available for pick up. According to its Eventbrite “Kidcreate Art Kits” post, each kit is good for one art project and contains an easy to follow lesson plan, a link to a correlating online instructional video taught by a Kidcreate Studio art teacher, all the art materials needed to create a fridge-worthy masterpiece and additional suggestions for online learning opportunities for your child that relate to the art lesson.

4-H offers several initiatives to engage young minds and bodies. The 4-H Pen Friends program invites youth to put pencil to paper and write letters to other 4-Hers from a different county or an older person in a nursing home. If at least six letters are exchanged, it counts as a communication project. Sign up at https://tinyurl/w8gqjdc.

The N.C. 4-H Mystery Challenge takes place each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Participants have 24 hours to complete the challenge and post It on social media. The challenges are critiqued, and a winner will be announced on social media as well. 4-H members across North Carolina are invited to take part. Email srwiley@ncat.edu for more information.

Online learning and entertainment aren’t just for kids, and the sources are practically unlimited. Artists, entertainers and organizations are reaching out to the public with incredible resources and heartfelt performances. Check your favorite bands to see if they are one of the many streaming concerts for free. The Google Arts & Culture project has assembled links to more than 2,500 spaces from across the globe. Many of them offer virtual tours, including MoMA, New York; Musee d’Orsay, Paris; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Here’s a link https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en. Many Museums also have free downloadable coloring pages. Use the hashtag #ColorOurCollections on social media to find and browse your favorite pieces to download and color. Several Ivy League institutions offer free classes online. From poetry to Constitutional interpretation to the science of well-being. Find out more about these courses and how to register at https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs. Sites like udemy.com and thegreatcourses.com offer reasonably priced online courses on a variety of topics as well. Many fitness centers are streaming their workout classes right now, too.

There is still a lot to be said for the simple pleasures in life, too. Play board games. Get outside and play catch or shoot a few baskets with your kids. Take a walk or a bike ride. Prepare a meal together. Read a book. Paint, or draw. Write a letter. Meditate. Go on a picnic. Sit on the porch and watch the world go by. Finish your to-do list. Plant a garden. Take a hike. Bird watch.

Stay informed

Reliable information is paramount in troubled times and vital for good mental health. Here are a few websites with up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the community:

Globally The World Health Organization who.int 
 Nationally The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov; The White House whitehouse.gov or coronavirus.gov
Statewide The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services ncdhhs.gov
Locally Cumberland County http://www.co.cumberland.nc.us/; City of Fayetteville https://fayettevillenc.gov/

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