Predictions are in for 2021 and—surprise!—the experts just can’t seem to agree on how the year’s going to turn out. Some are optimistic, saying life will get back to normal by spring—while others say that won’t happen until summer or even the winter of 2022.
Still others are worried that the public will have a hard time shaking off the memory of COVID, even after herd immunity. Greg Petro at Forbes predicts big portions of the economy will continue to lag in 2021, with bankruptcies occurring en masse across all sectors.
“The muscle memory we shaped as a society will not be shed overnight,” he said. “Or perhaps ever.”
But don’t get too discouraged. While we’ve got months (or more) to go before we’re out the woods, here are a few things that give us real hope for the coming year—and should give you hope too!
Americans Are Preparing Like Never Before, And That Will Save Lives
In the face of multiple crises, families have stepped up their preparedness in 2020. That trend seems likely to continue.
At the top of the list is the fact that, as a recent Healthcare Ready survey shows, Americans are more concerned than ever about emergencies.
What's more, by many indicators that’s translating into record-levels of preparedness.
How do we know? The clearest sign is that preparedness companies like ours reported Black-Friday levels of traffic almost every day after the COVID crisis exploded. And demand has hardly tapered off.
It’s a sign that emergency preparedness is going mainstream. As John Ramey of The Prepared puts it: “Over the last five to 10 years, that [prepper] stereotype...has fallen away…The vast majority of preppers [today] are serious and rational people, and their number is growing exponentially. It's gone mainstream."
This is all fantastic for the outlook of 2021. It means more families packing 72-hour kits, bug-out bags, emergency food, water, generators, and more. There’s no better protection from uncertainty than that.
A prepared populace can self-isolate more easily if they need to. They can independently ride out disruptions to the food supply chain. And they remove a giant burden from hospitals and emergency responders, freeing them up to save more lives.
Touching Acts of Kindness Are Quietly on the Rise
Throughout 2020, the old adage “if it bleeds it leads” summed up just about every news story we saw. Most of the coverage around COVID, civil unrest, the election—you name it—has been ugly, depressing, and violent.
But just because good news is hard to find doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Tough times bring people together more than anything, and there were plenty of inspiring stories in 2020 of people who went out on a limb to help their neighbors. There are few better ways to help create an amazing 2021 than that.
As just a couple examples:
HAND SANITIZER FROM THE BOTTOM OF JAYDEN’S HEART
11-year-old Jayden Perez donated over 1,000 hand sanitizer bottles to his fellow schoolmates and others.
You may have heard accounts of ”enterprising” individuals stocking up on hand sanitizer at the beginning of the COVID crisis, just to sell it at a steep markup.
Well, there’s an inspiring version of that story out of Woodland Park, New Jersey where 11-year-old Jayden Perez bought hand sanitizer in bulk in February and turned right around and donated it to other kids.
Jayden “became concerned that some students didn’t have sanitizer because they were selling out everywhere,” said his mom, Ana Rosado. “So he decided to donate 1,000 hand sanitizers to his local school district, and an additional 150 to the police station, fire department, and public library.”
Jayden even has his own nonprofit called "From the Bottom of My Heart. "All kids, we should all come together,” Jayden said. “People, we should come together in a crisis like this, and we should all help one another with this crisis because some people, they can't even find simple things that they need, like milk, eggs, cheese. So with this crisis, just be there to help one another.”
HELLO, IF YOU’RE SELF-ISOLATING, I CAN HELP!
People all over the world have been launching "contact card" campaigns to help their isolated friends, neighbors, and family members.
Few have been hurt more in 2020 than the vulnerable residents of nursing facilities. Sadly, too many are spending birthdays, holidays—most days, really—without the people they love most.
To help them deal with that loneliness, groups all over the country are pitching in to charitable campaigns directed at seniors. Michael Lowe, CEO of Car Passionate, is one of these.
“Having been inspired by a few people, our business has pledged to drop contact cards around the elderly homes nearby our office, offering to pick up essentials for them, he said. “Each member of staff will be paying out of their own pocket — their idea — and I will be replenishing what they spent with an end-of-year bonus.”
Another take on the contact card comes from Becky Wass, a copywriter who launched a program that lets vulnerable folks write out digital cards with requests for errands that they can’t run themselves.
“Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help,” the cards read, with spaces for a name, address, phone number and possible tasks that the recipient might need help with, including “picking up shopping” and “a friendly phone call.”
Americans Are Stepping Up When They’re Needed Most
The United States has been ranked the most charitable country in the world over the last decade.
Say what you will about this country, there’s no denying that America’s got a big, charitable heart. The US has been ranked the most charitable country in the world over the last decade, and that trend ballooned in 2020.
In the months after the Coronavirus arrived, charitable giving was “off the charts” in the US, dwarfing records set by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. According to the Los Angeles Times the massive influx of donations “has sent foundations scrambling to dole out the new funding to [overwhelmed] nonprofits.
As long as those who are able keep on giving, there’s good reason to stay hopeful about the coming year. Here are a few examples of how that’s played out during 2020:
TECH TO THE RESCUE
While “Big Tech” didn’t have its greatest PR year ever, lots of companies have stepped up in big ways since COVID hit.
Leading the charge was Intel. Early on, the company pledged $40 million to help speed responses to the pandemic. A portion of that money is going to place better technology into the patient care chain to help expedite scientific research on the virus. In addition, Intel joined the Open COVID Pledge to freely share their intellectual property with scientists and researchers.
Google has also ramped its charitable giving this year, mostly in the form of helping small businesses and NGOs through $360 million dollars in advertising credits. It’s also invested:
- $200 million in a fund for NGOs and financial institutions to help small businesses
- $15 million in cash grants for small businesses
- $250 in ad grants to global health care foundations
- $20 million in Google Cloud credits for researchers and academic institutions
- $5 million in donations matched for a COVID-19 solidarity response fund
All told, the tech giant has donated north of $865 million dollars in the fight against COVID and its fallout.
DELTA DOES DUVETS—BUT NOT MIDDLE SEATS
Many companies have stepped up to help their customers and communities during COVID. Delta has led the movement among major airlines.
Apart from implementing what is widely considered the safest and most generous COVID-19 measures of any airline (they’re the only one still blocking middle seats), Delta has put its money where its mouth is in 2020.
The company recently donated 700,000 duvets, blankets, and pillows to the United Way for stressed out shelters and schools this winter. They have also manufactured personal protective equipment for medical workers and provided free flights for medical volunteers “fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
With Some Prep and Positivity…
There’s no denying that 2020 was tough, and 2021 will have its challenges, too—but we don’t have to let those define the year. With some preparation, positivity, and a whole lot of stick-together-ness, we know there can be joy and happiness ahead!