Helping the Helpers

Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

My dad was a doctor. My mom, a nurse. One sister is a nurse and the other a physical therapist. No post about helpers during this pandemic would be complete without sharing a special thank you to the health care workers and so many others who are serving on the front lines, risking their lives to treat those struck by this virus.

When we hear the stories of equipment shortages and exhausted workers on the nightly news, we want to respond. We want to help. So, we send money to relief agencies. We collect masks and other supplies and drop them off at our local hospitals. We give blood. We pause to pray for them and those they are treating. We stand out on our balconies and front porches and clap to show our thanks. We comment and send thankful emojis via our social media. We find creative ways to volunteer and help while following our hand-washing and social distancing guidelines and our Stay at Home orders.

In addition to these medical heroes we see on our televisions and social media feeds during this crisis, let’s also remember the thousands of others who step forward in every sector of our society. The nonprofit sector is full of amazing helpers. Like our doctors and nurses, they are on the front lines and behind the scenes doing critically important work. While not all are risking their own personal health and safety, some are. Others are sacrificing personal comforts, family time, and financial stability in order to be there for those needing helpers in their time of need:

  • Helping the sick, the elderly, the hurting, the abused, the neglected, the lost, and the poor
  • Helping conduct research to combat the viruses, cancers, and other conditions that impede our well-being and threaten our lives
  • Helping educate our children and supporting our teachers
  • Helping advocate for the fair and equitable treatment of people who, for too long, have been mistreated because of social class, race, gender, sexual orientation, or other reasons
  • Helping stimulate the creative spirit in each of us through visual and performing arts
  • Helping protect our natural resources

The list goes on and on. And just like our doctors and nurses, they were here, helping before this virus struck. They are helping in the midst of this crisis. And they will be here after the virus is defeated. We won’t have to go looking for these helpers. They are all around us and making our communities, our nation, and our world a better place. Like Mr. Rogers, I find great comfort in that.    

Today and in the weeks and months ahead, remember the helpers – the heroes – who we count on every day for their time, expertise, and devotion to their work. Remember them with your gratitude and through your generosity. For those who are able, please continue your giving during this time. It helps the helpers. And for those fortunate enough to have more than you need, please help more!

**For our nonprofit colleagues, know that we continue to be in touch with experts and practitioners locally and across the country in the areas of fundraising, leadership development, board governance, and crisis management. The easiest way to see and hear much of what we are tracking is to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook where we are posting regularly with our own insights and the wisdom of others that we believe add value to our sector’s discussions and actions.

Stay well!

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