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Community during the Pandemic

We choose to live in the Elmwood Village for the sense of community and are appreciating the creative ways people are connecting during the pandemic. Seen on Nextdoor app, “Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation”. There is a porch dance party being planned!

The Ashland Block Association is drumming up some social connecting with physical distancing. Organizer Linda Gellman is sending emails to the block’s almost seventy-person-large list about a daily 5:00 p.m. jamboree on the first and second block of the street (beginning at Summer Street). That’s when residents are encouraged go to the end of their driveway and wave to their neighbors. There are sanitized percussion instruments available for those who want them. On the first jamboree, sounds of a flute were heard throughout the neighborhood.

In addition to organizing social events, Linda Gellman has taken a first-responders course in order to better serve the block. She has been putting together an emergency plan in which neighbors are sharing  information regarding emergency contact people and pertinent health matters preparing for an event in which they might be in need of help. Finding the balance between safety and sociability, personal and social responsibility is on the forefront for any community leader. Linda Gellman is tireless in her efforts to maintain both community safety and connections!

The Elmwood Village Association (EVA) has started a child-friendly Neighborhood Art Project. This week’s art activity is making rainbows then putting them in the front window or on the porch. It’s both fun to make them and fun to spy them when walking down the street. The upcoming art project prompts are:

  • March 29th – April 4th – Hearts
  • April 5th – 11th – Stars
  • April 12tth – 18th – Balloons
  • April 19th – 25th – Pets
  • April 26th – May 2nd – Flowers
Calendar for EVA’s Neighborhood Art Project

Other things to do while homebound are taking walks in the park or the neighborhood. When you see your friends doing the same, say hello from at least six feet away. Without leaving home, you can stay in touch with friends and family, checking in to see if they are well. If anyone is sick or struggling, you can drop off a care package on their doorstep. Homemade food, chocolate and books are all good care package items. Before you leave the bag on the doorstep, text and wave from behind a door or window.

With things you might have in the house and no special talents, you can make a mask. Gather together: a full-size paper towel, two rubber bands and a stapler.  Lay the towel horizontally and fold it accordion style. Then tuck the ends in and staple a rubber band inside each one. Open the folds, place the mask over your face and secure the rubber bands behind your ears to hold it in place. Perhaps the person in your home preparing food can wear a mask to ensure the safety of others.

Use social media to send thanks to the health care workers, food service providers, sanitation workers and other essential workers who are busy keeping us safe during the pandemic. Besides delivering care packages, taking walks or picking up food, stay home, sanitize everything, stay safe and remember your community; it’s still there.

Lead image: A member of the Social Distancing Band

Written by Judith Frizlen

Judith Frizlen

Judith Frizlen is the founder of the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center and author of Words for Parents, Words for Teachers and Caregivers and Unpacking Guilt, a Mother's Journey to Freedom. Books and blogposts are on her website at She is a fan of early childhood, urban architecture and the revitalization of Buffalo.

View All Articles by Judith Frizlen
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