By Jeffiner Bridge
To say the last few weeks have been life altering is an understatement. COVID-19 has brought many challenges but also opportunities. When we first began social isolation, we thought it would be for a couple weeks. Well, the weeks are stretching into a month and may last a few weeks more. Life as we know it has changed. Over the past few weeks, I have noticed several trends. The first one I noticed was the panic of people rushing to stores and wiping out shelves of items. Toilet paper and paper towels, gone. Meat and canned goods, gone. Fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of them! Years ago, I developed a habit of keeping things in stock. At my house when the last jar of peanut butter is opened, we make sure to purchase one or two more jars, budget permitting, so we don’t run out. We purchase toilet paper and paper towels in bulk, so we always have them on hand. When I get to the end of a bar of soap, I wet the new one and press the end piece to it so there is no waste. Part of these habits were formed when I was growing up and others developed when I had to learn to be self-sufficient. The second trend I noticed was the number of people who continued life as normal. They still didn’t wash their hands, think about social distancing or staying at home. They couldn’t figure out why everyone was so worried about a virus. I think this number is starting to diminish somewhat but we still have a few stragglers. I have always been a hand washer but trying to keep my hands off my face is a different matter. Spring always brings pollen and other opportunities to rub my eyes and wipe my nose. The third trend I noticed were the people who approached the situation as something to take seriously, to evaluate the situation and make plans to move forward. Most did not panic; they were aware of the implications of the virus but realized there were several unknowns and new discoveries to the process. They have proceeded with caution and adapted accordingly. My new normal is to go to work then come home. On a rare occasion I stop at the grocery. I am still going to work every day but not coming face to face with clientele. Phone calls, email and social media is the new norm. Our vestibule area is open so soil tests and other items can be dropped off or picked up. We have altered the way we teach programs. Facebook Live is being utilized to relay information. For traditional learners who do not have Facebook or internet access, we have learning packets available in the vestibule. This week we are focusing on money habits and beginning gardening. Each packet contains applicable information and, in some cases, useful items. We do not want the packet returned; we want the information to be used. If you have questions feel free to call 270-422-4958, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are into social media, like our Facebook page- Meade County Family and Consumer Sciences. As we continue to alter our traditional way of life, we need to continue to think about each other and do our part to help those in need so please wash your hands and follow CDC guidelines so we can all get through this together. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.