Stories of Hope and Flourishing in Pennsylvania during COVID-19

It’s all too easy to fall into the pit of bad news these days.

As the coronavirus epidemic has thrown many of us off our feet, every negative headline or story can make every minute we spend at home that much harder.

But thankfully, people and markets are creative and charitable, especially in tough times. Here are some examples of hope and human flourishing in Pennsylvania that are giving us what we need to push ahead:


  • In Bellefonte, the distillery used its assembly line and products to donate hand sanitizer for first responders in the area.

  • In Allentown, Home Depot is donating thousands of N95 facemasks to local health professionals.
    • The masks will go to Cetronia Ambulance, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and St. Luke's University Health Network.
    • The donation was organized by Upper Macungie Township fire marshal Grant Grim.
  • MSA, a manufacturing business in Pittsburgh donates 65,000 respirators to Allegheny Health Network.
    • When asked why donate approximately $50,000 worth of masks, the CEO of MSA said, “Well, we’re a 105-year-old company based in Pittsburgh. During that time, our mission has never changed. Our mission is protecting people at work, so they can do their jobs safely. This is what we do. So it was a no-brainer. That’s our DNA.”
  • Jefferson County glove manufacturer Brookville Glove shifts its assembly line to provide 20,000 facemasks to local senior care facilities.
    • The plant was set to close down, but instead is working to fill the shortages of masks around western Pennsylvania.
  • The Giant Co. (supermarket) in Carlisle announced Friday it is donating $250,000 to four local hunger relief organizations.
    • The list includes the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Philabundance, Maryland Food Bank and Meals on Wheels Pennsylvania.
    • “The GIANT Company’s purpose is to connect families for a better future, which is why we are acting with urgency and providing them with funds now so they can continue to support our most vulnerable neighbors. Working together, we can truly make a difference and it’s our hope that anyone who can does join us in providing relief to these life-sustaining organizations,” said company president Nicholas Bertram.
  • Yianni Kyziridis, owner of Pat’s Pizza and Bistro on Broad Street in Bethlehem, donated 100 lunches at Marvine Elementary and 100 meals at Nitschmann Middle School.
    • He challenges other restaurants to join the cause in serving Bethlehem Area School District students. Kyziridis said he got the idea after reading an email from the school district saying it would be serving meals during the closure of schools so students wouldn’t go hungry.
    • “So I reached out and I asked to see if I can help in any way,” said Kyziridis, whose 7-year-old son Constantinos attends Asa Packer Elementary. Kyziridis said it didn’t matter that his own business “is down a lot” due to state restrictions banning indoor dining. “I don’t like to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “This is a worldwide situation and I’m no one special. I’m trying to be an asset to the community.”
  • Local businesses owners from Lycoming, Clinton, Union, Tioga, Northumberland, and Sullivan County are offering free meals to children amidst the COVID-19 school closures.
  • The Amish community in Lancaster County is sewing 13,000 facemasks to donate to health professionals.
    • Bird-in-Hand Fabric, the textile firm serving Amish customers, will donate the facemasks to the Lancaster Health Center.


  • Philadelphia students to receive thousands of Google Chromebooks to continue their education
    • 15,000 charter and parochial students in Philadelphia will receive Chromebooks to help them learn during the school shutdown, thanks to a generous $2.8 million donation from Jeff and Janine Yass. Jeff is a founder of Susquehanna International Group, and Janine is a cofounder of Boys Latin Charter School and board member of the Philadelphia School Partnership
  • Western Pa. School For The Blind Printing 3D Masks For Healthcare Workers
    • Volunteers at Western Pennsylvania’s School for Blind Children have taken the school’s seven 3D printers home and begun pumping out “polymer masks” using the technology.


  • ‘Got More Beer’: Pa. Woman Who Went Viral For Beer Wanted Sign Gets A Special Delivery
    • A Pittsburgh-area woman who went viral for holding a sign asking for more beer, has gotten her wish. Molson Coors showed up at 93-year old Olive Veronesi’s home Monday afternoon with a special delivery, 150 Coors Light beers.


  • Hospital construction completed in record time.
    • The new hospital on the west Philadelphia campus of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will be completed almost a year and a half earlier in order to help mitigate new patients. The hospital is set to open in mid-April, opening 119 beds up to those in need.


  • Launching a service to help senior citizens with their shopping.
    • April Schiel knows it sounds strange, but she really loves to grocery shop. And she knows how unwise it is for senior citizens to leave the house, let alone go to the store during the coronavirus outbreak. She launched an event page called “Emmaus Elder/High Risk Help: Need it? Offering it?” on a popular Emmaus Facebook group,
    • The event page allows people to volunteer and people in need ― or their friends and relatives ― to privately ask for help. “I’ve shopped for three people so far,” said Schiel, who works as a paramedic and animal control officer for Emmaus. Social Still of Bethlehem on Thursday provided alcohol to Lehigh Valley Health Network’s pharmacy to make hand sanitizer, according to a Facebook post.
  • Instacart on a hiring spree.
    • Instacart announced on March 23 that it would hire 300,000 full-service shoppers in the next three months to manage increased demand.
    • According to Instacart, in the past week alone the company's order volume increased by 150% in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. The company said hiring will be prioritized in states currently experiencing the highest demand, including California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, and Ohio.