Dear Farmington: Let this be our finest hour

Last night, about a third of Farmington area families got some very difficult news.

The  three-week closure of all Michigan schools means more than an unexpected spring vacation. During this time:

  • Children in need will miss meals provided by our district’s free and reduced lunch program.
  • Children whose families are homeless will lose the comfort of a safe, warm place to be during the day.
  • Children who don’t have books, computers, and internet at home will miss out on opportunities to learn.
  • Middle school children won’t have access to a program that keeps them safe and out of trouble after school.

For the next three weeks, a very large gap will weaken our community safety net. I don’t yet know how our school district will step in, but right now, here’s what you can do:

First, foremost, always: Wash. Your Hands. Stay home when you’re not feeling well. Cough into your elbow. Even if you’re not sick and haven’t been exposed, take all of the very reasonable precautions suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to limit the spread of the virus. The fewer people who get sick, the sooner this is all over.

Consider donating cash to local charities like Neighborhood House and CARES of Farmington Hills. This allows them to direct resources where they’re most needed.

Keep FPS Hackboxes well stocked. The district’s robotics team, the Hackbots, put together these boxes to discretely provide non-perishable and hygiene items for families in need. READ MORE.

Support local businesses. Many are taking extra precautions to ensure that you’re safe in their establishments and will likely suffer as people practice “social distancing”. If you can’t go out, purchase gift cards online. Get a delivery from your favorite local restaurant. Keep making membership payments. Give them a boost on social media.

Tip your servers well. Fewer people are going out to eat, and those folks rely on tips to supplement their hourly wages.

Be kind and patient with everyone. We’ve all got a lot on our plates right now. People are scared, many are worried about loved ones. Not everyone who needs help will ask for it, so offer the gift of calm and kindness whenever you can.

Help your neighbors, especially seniors, those who live alone, and those with health concerns. Pool child care. Offer to pick up groceries or medications, or to run other errands. Drop off a home-cooked meal.

Share factual information from reliable sources. Our cities and school district all have good information on their websites about what’s happening locally, and Oakland County offers a wealth of information on its COVID-19 page. Another good resource: Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates at beaumont.org/health-wellness/coronavirus. And, of course, we’ll share the best information we can find, with stories tagged COVID-19, at farmingtonvoice.com.

About the hoarding… Grocery and other retail store shelves are emptying of paper goods, hand sanitizer, soap, and other cleaning supplies. Stock up for your family, but please consider a reasonable approach to ensure everyone can access what they need to keep themselves safe and slow the virus progression. Got extra? Share with neighbors in need.

We’re compiling a list of RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES AFFECTED BY COVID-19 SCHOOL CLOSURE. If you’ve got information to share, send it to joni@farmingtonvoice.com or call or text 248-568-0581.

Keep calm and take care of each other, friends. These may be dark days, but this can still be our finest hour.

Joni Hubred

Reported by