Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, speaks to the media during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Despite the deleterious impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on American society, it has not prevented us from engaging in acts of kindness to help our fellow countrymen. Now, it appears that some of our elected officials are getting in on the act.
On Monday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that they are launching the “Combat COVID-19 Challenge” to encourage people to do something to help their communities. Cruz posted a video on Twitter after bringing breakfast tacos and coffee to the Police Officer’s Union in Houston, Texas. He explained the purpose of the campaign:
“While we practice social distancing and work to combat COVID-19, there is ample opportunity for each of us to engage our community and support one another during these challenging times. We have all seen the stories of Americans who are staying home, delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors, and supporting our medical professionals and first responders. I am hopeful launching the bipartisan #CombatCOVID19Challenge will encourage many more Americans to roll up their sleeves and help others in need.”
Then, he explained how the challenge works. “Help somebody else. And then challenge three more people,” he said. “We’re going to see if we can get a whole lot of people engaged and making a difference, coming through, fighting this pandemic. And we will beat COVID-19.”
Cruz then called out three individuals to do something helpful in their communities. “I’m challenging Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, I’m challenging Rick Perry, and I’m challenging Mattress Mack.”
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) April 13, 2020
Gillibrand also posted her own video on Twitter after she bought pizza for the front line medical staff at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany, New York. She echoed Cruz’s remarks, stating that it is an opportunity for ordinary Americans to make a positive difference. She said:
“So many of us want to help in the fight against COVID-19, but it can be hard to know where to start. Acts of kindness and compassion are more important than ever, especially for the health care workers, grocery store clerks, and other critical workers on the front lines of this crisis. I’m excited to launch the bipartisan #CombatCovid19Challenge so that everyone has a chance to make a difference and support their community.”
Acts of kindness and compassion are more important than ever, especially for essential workers on the front lines of this crisis. So today I’m excited to launch the #CombatCOVID19Challenge to encourage more people to support their communities at this critical time. Learn more: pic.twitter.com/b69a4217aU
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 13, 2020
The New York Senator then issued the challenge to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), restaurateur Dave Chang, and New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.
So far, three of those challenged by Cruz and Gillibrand have responded. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the founder of Gallery Furniture announced on Twitter that he is providing 1,500 care packages for seniors in the Austin area.
I ACCEPT the #CombatCOVID19Challenge proposed to me by @SenTedCruz & @SenGillibrand! I’m here at Acres Home loading up 1,500 care packages to give back to Houston area seniors during Covid-19. I now challenge @ABREG_1 @MarcusLuttrell & CST Alan Rosen @Pct1Constable. You’re up! pic.twitter.com/DSfZjsgcAO
— @MattressMack (@MattressMack) April 14, 2020
Lt. Gov. Hochul posted a video in which she declared that she is donating to Feed More WNY, which is a nonprofit organization that operates a food bank and provides other resources for disadvantaged people in west New York.
— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) April 14, 2020
Chef Dave Chang announced that he would make a donation to the Lee Initiative, a program started by Chef Edward Lee to help restaurant workers who have fallen on hard times.
I accept the #CombatCOVID19Challenge, @SenGillibrand. We need to come together and support each other and our communities. I’m donating to @chefedwardlee’s Lee Initiative to support restaurant workers in need. I challenge @jimmykimmel, @jimmyfallon, and @StephenAtHome next. pic.twitter.com/hlahMLcJpK
— Dave Chang (@davidchang) April 14, 2020
Can we get more of this, please?
As the COVID-19 outbreak has dominated the news cycle for more than a month now, it seems we are inundated with vitriol and debate over the issue. Much of this is warranted as the nation wrestles with the best way to address the illness while not sacrificing the economy.
But the country also needs balance, and stories like this are wonderful manisfestations of the American spirit. Indeed, it is what most stand for: Americans helping Americans.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight