NELDON: Michiana’s giving spirit will get us through this crisis

The giving spirit is alive and well in southwest Michigan.

In spite of growing challenges quite literally plaguing our communities, one needs not look far to find acts of kindness in our communities. From birthday parades hosted at a social distance to signs placed in front yards in honor of graduating seniors, our communities have once again proven that the majority are eager to support one another.

As our region moves deeper into an economic crisis resulting from business closures, supply shortages and indefinite furloughs, I challenge southwest Michigan residents to keep that giving spirit alive in their hearts.

Amid this crisis, we are all facing challenges of varying degrees — and, no matter the degree of those challenges, we all have it within us to do what is right by ourselves and each other.

As coronavirus case counts decrease, and we begin to battle the economic effects of this virus, I implore each of you to consider what you have available to help others.

Whether financially stable or facing trying times economically, we all can do our part to help one another.

If you have funds to spare, consider giving to a local nonprofit. There are funds set up in each of our communities to help battle food insecurity (Nourish Niles through the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, Redbud Area Ministries, ACTION Ministries, Edwardsburg Food Pantry and Helping Hands of Cass County, to name a few).

If you do not have funds to spare, consider giving time to others. United Way of Southwest Michigan updates volunteer opportunities frequently on its website and publishes a list weekly in our newspapers.

Even if you do not have time or money to spare, we can all do our part to help one another by working to slow the spread of this virus, and supporting our local economy. Consider:

• Wearing a mask whenever you go out in public, even if this establishment you are visiting does not require masks to be worn.

• Continuing to wash your hands frequently.

• Buying local. While it may be tempting to order online through national retailers, our local economy will directly benefit when we directly benefit our local economy. Dine at locally owned restaurants, shop curbside at local retailers and buy gift cards for businesses that are not yet open.

I truly believe the biggest impact we can make in this crisis (and any crisis) is continuing to consider others in addition to ourselves. How are our actions impacting our families, neighbors, complete strangers?

If we keep this thought in our minds and continue building on the giving spirit that I know is alive and thriving in Michiana, our communities will survive this pandemic and all the related effects of the virus.

Together, we can heal. We will get through this, and we may even be better for it.

Brandywine Education

Performing arts organization creates scholarship fund

Dowagiac

Positive COVID-19 tests force cancellation of Moose Riders’ Cass County Cancer Service Ride

Berrien County

Veterinarian ticketed following discovery of dead animals on his property

Dowagiac

SMC to produce radio show featuring Dewey Lake monster

Business

Niles Apple Festival Harvest Market aims to showcase vendors, food trucks

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 117,910 cases, 6,680 deaths

Berrien County

Niles man gets probation for criminal sexual conduct

Berrien County

Public Safety Warning issued following multiple vehicle break-ins in Berrien County

Dowagiac

DUS approves hire of new Sister Lakes assistant principal

News

Niles Charter Township board approves millages for ballot

Buchanan

Buchanan Art Center donates more than $1,500 to RAM

Dowagiac

DUS approves ICG site improvement plan

News

Niles pastor takes vocals to park

Berrien County

MDARD reminding schools, businesses to only use EPA-approved disinfectants

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 117,406 cases, 6,665 deaths

Dowagiac

Dowagiac City Council authorizes loans for sanitary sewer improvements

News

Local organization hosts voter registration, cookout

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces support for front line workers

Dowagiac

Sept. 21 Dowagiac weather report

Berrien County

Michigan Teen Safe Driving program enters 10th year

Berrien County

Free virtual cancer symposium open to providers, public

Education

Niles Community Schools’ remote platform allows students to go at own pace

Business

Dowagiac business donates backpacks, school supplies to students in need

Cassopolis

Miss Cassopolis Scholarship Program hosting school supply drive