America is exhausted. The division has been intense for years and violence has resulted. Many of us have curbed our normal activities to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Businesses and individuals have struggled to make ends meet and some have failed to do so.

It’s scary times. Because of hoarding or supply-chain failure, many items have been unavailable to shoppers and the price of some items have soared out of reach. We joke about the toilet paper shortage, but it’s an indicator of the concern U.S. citizens have had about how severe shortages may become during the pandemic.

But what can we do about it?

Despite our feelings of disconnect from our lawmakers and lack of control on a national level, there is always something we can do.

In Ashland and surrounding areas, there are people, agencies and businesses in need. We can help.

Those who are able should shop locally to help keep your neighbor in business. Encourage others to shop locally. Buy gift cards from local places, even to be used after the pandemic.

We should donate to local agencies. We should donate in whatever way we can to places like Hillcrest-Bruce Mission, Hope’s Place and any places in The Neighborhood, among others. They need your time and they need material donations. Just call your agency of choice and they will let you know what’s needed.

Help your neighbor, whether it’s the person next door to you or a stranger with whom you have a chance encounter.

By helping, we mean give what is needed. Give what you’re able to give. It might be sharing your dinner with someone. It might be listening to a lonely person. It might be giving someone a ride to an appointment.

We’re not complaining; this area is full of generous people. This is a reminder: Whatever happens, we can make it better by helping one another. It’s good for eveyone, including the giver. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps our wisest president, said, "To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own."

There’s plenty of heartache to go around. Wouldn’t you like to forget your own?

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