Last week we and many, many other individuals and organizations across the metro called for our city to come together. Since then, both the city and state have declared a state of emergency, events of 50 or more have been canceled until April 12, public schools are out until April 6 and today the city requires all bars, gyms and theaters to close, and restaurants to serve only take-out or delivery food, until April 12. It’s heavy stuff.
But you know what I’ve seen throughout it all, Oklahoma City? You have stepped up in ways both big and small and I have been crying happy tears about it every day. Our leaders are making incredibly tough decisions and, by and large, instead of grumbling, the community is responding by saying, “How can we help?”
Businesses are completely altering their processes to continue to provide work to employees and safe service to the community, or shutting down for the greater good. Local museums and attractions are creating free content so kids and families have engaging, fun learning opportunities while they are at home.
Local moms have dropped what they are doing to provide helpful content to share with others: homeschooling moms with tips for all of us who just became homeschool parents, work-from-home moms with ideas on getting work done (or heck, anything done!) while with your kids all day, counseling experts with advice on protecting our families’ mental health in these unchartered waters.
My son’s kindergarten teacher is working over her break to ensure her students have ways to connect with each other and continue to grow while they are on extended break from school.
Here are some of my favorite examples of organizations and individuals stepping up to serve families in the past few days:
- The Oklahoma Hall of Fame had to cancel their Spring Thing fun for the week, but they’ve turned all that content, plus more, into FREE learning resources on their site. Learn about a different Hall of Famer every day this week, plus get crafts, activities, books, videos and recipes (from Hall of Fame inductee Ree Drummond, no less!) This has been a huge win with my three kids.
- The OKC Zoo is closed to visitors but they’re bringing the animals to us through virtual experiences, like daily animal well checks on Facebook Live. (My kids are fairly certain they are honorary veterinarians after watching Fred the elk receive his well check.) Check out their Pepsi Vending Machine Art Contest for kids in grades K through 12 to promote recycling.
- Learning Tree Toys on Western Ave is locally owned with a great selection of kids’ games, toys and puzzles. Bonus: call ahead to get help shopping and your purchases can be delivered to you curbside.
- I am no Pinterest mom, but my kids love art projects. Unpluggits has long been a family favorite, and they’re offering to-go paint and ceramics kits with everything your kids need for a creative project at home. Also, don’t miss their play dough recipe online!
- Restaurants throughout the metro are rethinking their entire business model to provide take-out service only. We typically cook at home almost every night, but we will be shifting our norm to commit to supporting our favorite local restaurants by ordering food to go more often during this crisis. Katiebugs is offering tasty treats drive-thru style, Black Walnut is offering all their menu items for dinner carry-out Tuesday through Saturday, Stella is offering family-style to-go options and Signature Grill owned by our February Real Mom of the Metro is offering dinner curbside to-go.
- Amanda Watson is a homeschooling mama who has five years’ experience teaching kids at home. As a brand new homeschooling mom myself next week, I’m grateful for her tips and resources to make our new normal work for my family.
- As an adjunct professor for the University of Oklahoma and a freelancer, ReRe Lunsford is used to varied work situations. Her always hilarious take on moms adjusting to working from home while your kids are there, too is a refreshing affirmation that we’re all figuring this out as we go.
- Both an executive director managing her employees and a mom of three, Erin Engelke gives actionable tips for setting up a home office, managing expectations and protecting the mental health of everyone in the family — mom included.
There’s a lot to be anxious about right now, friends. But, wow, we have a lot to celebrate, too.
I’d love for you to share what businesses, organizations or individuals are stepping up to help our community. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org