Debbie Findling: Chicken Soup

2 min
at 11:43 PM

Across America, neighbors are reconnected with one another through small but deeply welcome acts of help and kindness. Debbie Findling found hers in a batch of chicken soup.

It started out rather benign. I was making a batch of chicken soup last weekend for my elderly in-laws, when I realized I’d made more than I needed. I posted a message on my neighborhood’s social networking site: “Chicken soup anyone?”

The responses quickly poured in: The first one read: “My husband has coronavirus and is home alone. I’m in Spain so I can’t help him.” An 85-year-old woman wrote, “I would love some chicken soup to warm my soul.” And then others like this one: “I’m not sick or elderly, but I’d love some soup.”

My husband and I, along with our disgruntled daughter who was prematurely sent home from college, drove around our neighborhood delivering jars of soup as we monitored the incoming messages from my phone. The requests soon exceeded our supply. We went home to make more.

Dozens of people posted messages praising our efforts: “What a lovely gesture, neighbors at our best” read one. “This is exactly the type of posts we need right now.” Another wrote, “It’s a crazy time; compassion is needed more than ever. This is restoring my faith in humanity.”

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While there seems to be something particularly comforting about homemade chicken soup, I don’t think it’s just about soup. A friend is calling self-quarantined seniors daily to keep them company. Another is volunteering to pick up groceries for those in need. Before the coronavirus outbreak, these efforts – including my family’s chicken soup brigade – likely wouldn’t have happened. We were all too consumed with our busy lives.

If there’s a silver lining to COVID-19, perhaps it’s a global humanity reboot, reminding us to spend more time connecting with strangers than staring at our phone screens.

With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Findling.

Debbie Findling lives in San Francisco and works in philanthropy.