A Boston couple moved into a new place the week of lockdown. Here’s how they kept their sanity.
Jeff Richards
True

One of the ways to test the durability of a romantic relationship is to move in together, but if you really want to live on the edge? Move in together amid a pandemic.

When Jeff Richards and his boyfriend, Alex, made the decision to move into a new apartment together, they had no idea that their city of Boston would go into lockdown just a few days later. During their quest to find the perfect place, they'd considered getting a one-bedroom but ended up picking the two-bedroom option—a decision Jeff says the couple is thankful for each day. Alex, a lawyer who is now working from home for the foreseeable future, converted the second bedroom into an office.


Another thing they're grateful for? The Tide Cleaners laundry service located inside their apartment building. The service is contact-free and controlled via phone app; all you do is put your items inside of a special locker, program in a security code and go on about your day. When the items are ready, you receive an alert. Easy peasy.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Jeff says that amenity was a huge selling point; they were intending to take advantage of it before the pandemic began. However, when Covid-19 struck Massachusetts, the Tide brand mobilized Tide Loads of Hope to provide free laundry and dry cleaning to Front Line Responders and their immediate family, something that Jeff calls a "lifesaver." Tide Cleaners spared the couple the added stress and expense of having their belongings professionally dry-cleaned.

Jeff, who works as a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Welcometoterranova that his "biggest concern was that I signed up for this [by working at a hospital], but Alex didn't. So, I felt like I didn't want to bring the virus home, and the one thing we could control was cleanliness."

At the hospital, Jeff's primary role is to assist an Interventional Cardiologist with things like stents and heart valve replacements. On a normal day, he wears a full-body length lead apron weighing 8 lbs.; since March, however, he's also required to add on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and a backpack containing a PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator). The respirator uses a blower instead of lung power to draw air through the filter, allowing healthcare workers to breathe more naturally with a constant airflow while working in hot and humid environments.

It's important to take every necessary precaution, and Jeff operates under the assumption that every patient he encounters has Covid-19. Still, wearing all of that protective gear for 12 hours is exhausting.

At the end of each shift, Jeff changes out of his scrubs at the hospital before heading home. Upon arriving at the apartment, he strips down at the door, wipes down his phone, badge, and keys before putting it all inside of a UV light sanitizer, and heads straight to the shower.

His biggest concern was keeping the things in their shared living space virus-free—blankets, bedding, heavy winter coats, and regular clothing—which is why having access to the free cleaning service took the mental load off Jeff and Alex, allowing them to concentrate on staying healthy.

"We were definitely going through a lot at once," Jeff said. "The hard part was that we both have very demanding jobs that require all of our focus, so adding the mental exhaustion of Covid was just a lot." Their community has been outstanding, however, rallying together to support those working on the front lines. Restaurants around the hospital provided bagged breakfasts and lunches to hospital staff, and food trucks handed out snacks and coffee in front of the hospital.

"One of the most touching things I've seen in the last few weeks was on the pathway leading from the employee parking garage to the hospital… people covered the walk with encouraging signs of thanks and wrote notes of encouragement."

By the end of the day, Jeff and Alex are just ready to park themselves on the couch with a glass of wine and shut their brains off. Thanks to Tide Cleaners, they have one less thing on their to-do list.

To support this effort and other programs like it, all you have to do is keep doing what you're doing — like shopping for laundry detergent. Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

Working parents have always had the challenge of juggling career and kids. But during the pandemic, that juggling act feels like a full-on, three-ring circus performance, complete with clowns and rings of fire and flying elephants.

With millions of kids doing virtual learning, our routines and home lives have taken a dramatic shift. Some parents are trying to navigate working from home at the same time, some are trying to figure out who's going to watch over their kids while they work outside the home, and some are scrambling to find a new job because theirs got eliminated due to the pandemic. In addition to the logistical challenges, parents also have to deal with the emotional ups and downs of their kids, who are also dealing with an uncertain and altered reality, while also managing their own existential dread.

It's a whole freaking lot right now, honestly.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less