by Emily Smith
Social distancing as a result of COVID-19 may have separated us as a community physically for some time, but the community spirit of goodwill, generosity, and helping others carries on, now, when it’s needed most, across our county and state.
Nearly 300,000 South Carolina jobs (roughly 1 in 10) are in the hospitality and tourism industry; approximately 80,000 of those are in Horry County alone. To offset the financial impact COVID-19 is having, the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA) partnered with Scofflaw Brewing Co. at the beginning of April to create the South Carolina Hospitality Employee COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund will reduce some of the financial losses that the employees in this industry are facing.
As a show of support for the frontline health care professionals, a young South Carolina boy and his family have been working together to create wooden red crosses to sell. All proceeds from the project go directly to children’s hospitals throughout our state. Sales first began with neighbors, but have since extended to other states including Florida and New York.
Ignite Church, with two locations in Myrtle Beach and Conway, has been working with Meals on Wheels every Saturday afternoon to provide food for anyone in need. While still providing spiritual “food” every Sunday virtually, many church members have been working hard to provide nourishment for the body as well.
When Tidelands Health reached into their stockpile of masks, they found the elastic strands to be too corroded for use. When local resident Tara Grinna found out that thousands of masks would have to be thrown away, she stepped in with a creative way to eliminate them from the landfill, and give them a vital purpose to boot.
As the owner of Tara Grinna Swimwear in Myrtle Beach, Tara opened her Conway factory and asked for volunteers to help. Using the sewing machines in her factory and elastic strands donated from a local textile company, the volunteers refurbished and redistributed the masks.
Across Horry County, vigils and prayer services have been held in keeping with CDC guidelines for social distancing, to show appreciation for our many hard workers in the healthcare industry.
Friends and neighbors in Carolina Forest have been working together to help too: some make face masks for others in need, others volunteer to do shopping for those who are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, or are considered in a high-risk group.
Physically, we’re remaining more apart, but mentally and emotionally, we support one another and stand together, both in Carolina Forest as well as across the state. The good that people continue to do uplifts and inspires us all to offer what we can to others.