Creating community during COVID

Vikki Bowes-Mok
4 min readOct 6, 2020


When shelter in place was announced in March, I don’t think anyone had any idea how the coming months would unfold.

There have been ups and downs, good news and bad news — across our blue planet, throughout our vast countries and within our little neighborhoods.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if everyone just took care of the 10 blocks around their home. Would it ripple across cities and countries to create a more peaceful world? I’d like to think so.

In fact, I’d like to share what’s been happening around our neighborhood, our little 10 blocks. It’s pretty inspiring.

Sidewalk art, painting parties and art shows

There is creativity oozing from every corner of our neighborhood. From gorgeous sidewalk art and cute kid art to painted rocks and inspirational notes, there are pops of color sprinkled everywhere. It’s so lovely when you are strolling along and then your eye catches something bright, beautiful and inspirational.

But that’s not all. One of our neighbors, Karen Adamski, is an artist and she’s been hosting free online painting parties — just because! She brings her joyful spirit, good energy and positive vibes to every class she teaches.

And finally another neighborhood artist, Natasha Kramskaya, just started hosting a socially distanced “Sidewalk Art Show.” She puts out her amazing paintings for people to browse while she and her husband sit a safe distance away to smile, answer questions or simply chat.

May the force be with you

One of our neighbors transformed their front window into a Star Wars-themed tableau. The signs are so clever and funny, including “Wash your hands Luke,” “Keep calm and use the Force,” “Keep your distance, womp rat” and “Together we can defeat the scruffy-looking nerf herder virus.” Clearly our neighbors listened to Obi Wan Kenobi’s advice and used their Force to bring laughter and inspiration into our neighborhood.

Flyers of Love

After the death of George Floyd and the outbreak of protests across our city and country, one neighbor decided to make flyers that read “Hate-free zone, Love spoken here.” They just cranked out some simple yet powerful flyers, plopped a card table out front, and offered them to their neighbors. And the coolest part was that these little love flyers just started popping up around the neighborhood — a reminder of what is important. So simple. So pure.

Sharing is caring

I can’t begin to tell you how many neighbors have been offering free plants — yep, free plants. Some just put raw clippings out and others had more elaborate shelves with a regular parade of plants available. From tomato plants and geraniums to jade and fresh lemons, people just want to toss out a little green love into the neighborhood.

Sharing is the caring — the next level

Beyond sharing garden clippings or extra produce, one neighbor created a sharing station that read, “Take what you need, share what you can.” This included household items, food and books — a one-stop shop just for our neighbors in need. Every time I walked by, there were some items taken and new items added. In fact, when it first appeared during the toilet paper shortage, someone had actually put a few rolls of TP — talk about giving back!

Sweet music that fills the soul

And last, but certainly not least, is … drumroll please … excellent live music every Saturday evening. A few friends have been playing live music together every Friday night at Capers Eat & Drink in Campbell. Their band, Local Traffic, has been together for nearly two decades so when shelter-in-place descended, they had to think differently. First they tried some quarantine sessions from home and spliced them together on video, but then realized that maybe they could jam in their front yard with six feet between them and the audience. Thus, Saturday evening concerts began and have been filling the neighborhood with a beat of optimism and happy tunes. One of the band members commented on Facebook, “Makes me happy that just by playing music from my front porch, can make others feel happier during this SIP :)”

I’m sure there is more happening in our neighborhood and yours too! Many people are trying to find simple, joyful ways to help each other feel happier and more hopeful during this challenging year. Thanks to everyone for brightening up our neighborhood with beautiful art, upbeat music and acts of kindness; these small gestures matter, now more than ever. And, taken together, they just might change the world.

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