Parishioners throughout the U.S.  making masks for civilians and health care workers is one of numerous examples of how people are helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic. CNS photo/David Ryder, Reuters
Parishioners throughout the U.S. making masks for civilians and health care workers is one of numerous examples of how people are helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic. CNS photo/David Ryder, Reuters

America is an amazing country. In any crisis throughout our nation’s history, people have pulled together in a spirit of community to see one another through difficult times. The situation we have found ourselves in over the past few months, battling a pandemic that has swept through the entire world, has revealed this spirit once again.

When Liz Klinger of San Francisco, Calif., learned that the hospital where her mother works had a mask shortage, she decided to act, not just for her mom but for the entire country. In an interview with SFGate, Klinger said, “My mom is a nurse, and she told me they weren’t being provided masks on her floor, which was obviously kind of concerning…And I was hearing through the grapevine that my mom’s experience was far from the only experience like that – U.S. healthcare workers across the country need masks.”

Klinger connected with Chloe Albert, who works in health care supplies. Albert informed Klinger of the long waiting period for new masks. They realized that the quickest way to get new masks was to appeal to people with their own private supplies. So Klinger and Albert joined together to form a website called Mask Match to connect people who had their own small supplies of masks with hospitals experiencing shortages. The donations began to pour in.

Another vital supply in battling this pandemic, both in hospitals and in our own homes, is hand sanitizer. We have faced major shortages from the earliest days of the outbreak. So distilleries, which usually produce alcoholic beverages, began to utilize their facilities to produce hand sanitizer and the kind of alcohol used as a disinfectant. “I’m most proud of the people on our staff,” Travis Barnes told Fox News. Barnes is a disabled veteran who owns the Indiana-based Hotel Tango Distillery, which is the first combat-disabled, veteran-owned distillery in America.

As soon as Barnes heard of the need, he switched his operation over completely to making sanitizer. He said, “There hasn’t been any hesitation from day one. We’ve seen people step up every day in extraordinary ways. I hope we can continue to help each other, support our neighbors and come out of this thing stronger than before.”

From small companies to large, Americans are turning their ingenuity towards addressing the health crisis. A Business Insider headline read, “Tesla, Apple, and Ford are stepping up to address global shortages of ventilators, hand sanitizer, face masks and gowns.” And in another amazing story we learned of how individuals are helping out from their own homes by running simulations on their computers to help scientists weed through data to find treatments for their patients. Reporting on the story, KFOX radio wrote on their website, “To find treatments, scientists need a ton of computing power to simulate how various proteins interact. So, the website, FoldingAtHome.org, has been asking people to download software that lets your computer run simulations when you’re not using it. More than 400,000 people have signed up. And the raw computing power combined is already close to three times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer.”

When you look at these kinds of stories, you have confidence in America’s ability to weather any crisis. We simply have to remember that we are so much stronger when we collaborate with each other, and that is exactly what so many people have been doing. So have faith that we will come through this and be stronger for the fight we have engaged in together.

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Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., is a member of The Christophers’ board of directors.