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Look For the Helpers

Now more than ever, we are living up to our name: the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

-Mr. Rogers


It’s hard to look at the bright side during times like these. There is so much fear, streets that were once full of life and movement are eerily still, we worry for our neighbors and cannot even visit them to share comfort. And then, a rainbow in a window, or a flower-bomb in the park. For a moment, we feel a little less alone, and a little more loved.


Last week, florists who had special events canceled flower-bombed Rittenhouse Square to bring joy to the city. It was a magical surprise in a day that was otherwise bleak, and a message of hope born out of the disappointment of canceled celebrations.



Meanwhile, families across the city are drawing rainbows and putting them in their windows (or chalking them on sidewalks) to create a citywide “rainbow hunt” to cheer other kids up. On Facebook, a similar citywide art project gives a daily prompt for artists of all ages to interpret and display (both virtually and in their windows).


These contactless ways of spreading love speak to the boundless creativity and community our city has. We will always desire and find a way to seek connection, even in solitude. Now more than ever, we are living up to our name: the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.


Those of us who are sheltered at home have our own challenges, but we remain in awe of the essential workers who brave going out each day so that our grocery shelves get stocked, our pharmacies have medicines for us, that our neighborhoods remain safe, and that our hospitals and healthcare offices remain open. We wish we could hug all the teachers out there who check in on our kids as the school year slips away. We are inspired by those who have taken up handcrafting face masks to fill a crucial need that is outpacing supply. We are so incredibly grateful for the helpers big and small.


Workers at Rittenhouse Market disinfect shopping carts. Photograph by Laura Swartz.


We’d love for you to share the stories of the people who are going above and beyond to help others during this difficult time. Share your story on our Instagram, in our community group, or email me at the address next to my byline. Help us spread the light and make everyone’s dark days a little bit brighter.


Photographs by Laura Swartz.

Contributing Writer