Residents’ Stories Chronicle the New Normal

Date of Session: April 23, 2020

A community group facilitated by Palm Health Foundation continued to review residents’ stories in April of 2020 and noticed a shift in their tone since story collection began in March. Below are some of their insights:

  • Initially, many stories shared worries over utilities and bills. With utilities remaining on, these worries seemed to subside. The Community Action Program in Palm Beach County was helping with rent issues. However, some residents who needed it did not qualify, and the longevity of the program was another source of worry.
  • People began wearing masks. Some residents described using masks as fashion statements with custom designs, and others began making them to sell. Residents described anxiety about going outside but viewed the overall situation as an inconvenience.
  • Not surprisingly, people expressed a need for masks, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer.
  • Although uncertainty around employment and income were raising stress levels, the stories submitted represented a range of stress levels with some including a touch of humor. Other stories are full of grief and fear around medical issues.
  • One top concern was how some residents without family support, those who cannot care for themselves, can receive help. Boynton Strong, a new grassroots non-profit, was making an impact by delivering meals to seniors every day and participating in community life.
  • Resiliency was low. Everyone, it seems, knew someone who had died. Many individuals important to the community (e.g., parishioners, school principals, store owners).
  • Testing for covid-19 was another salient topic on residents’ minds. Genesis Community Health Center and St. John First Missionary Baptist partnered on a grant to bring local testing.