Best of Times ... (in the Worst of Times)
Hi Lynn,

Welcome to the second edition of Best of Times (In the Worst of Times) — a newsletter that focuses on positive news in dark times, delivered weekly on Saturdays You’re receiving this because you subscribe to a Berkeleyside newsletter. (Don’t want to continue getting it? Simply unsubscribe to Best of Times.)

We called this "The Chalk Edition" because we had so many submissions this week of wonderful chalk drawings and messages that people on much-needed walks had spotted around town. Children provided clues to finding the rainbows that are being posted in windows as a fun outdoor pursuit; some were messages of gratitude for first-responders, those who work in hospitals, food stores or any delivery service; others simply offered a little gardening education, with the names of plants and arrows helpfully scrawled on the sidewalk.

Recent rain will probably have washed away many of these lovely messages by now. But we have a feeling we'll be seeing more of them. We're a resilient bunch here in Berkeley.
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While this newsletter concentrates on the more uplifting outcomes of the surreal time we live in, I encourage you not to miss Berkeleyside's phenomenal daily coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on our community. We designed a new landing page for all our COVID-19 news and made sure those headlines were easy to find on the homepage.

Do send us your stories of how you and your neighbors are coping, tips, photographs and videos. And, if you enjoy this newsletter, forward it to a friend.

All the best and wishing you good health,

 
Tracey Taylor
Co-Founder, Editorial Director Berkeleyside

Inspiring ideas from inspiring people...

Judith White Marcellini, an artist who lives in North Berkeley, sent us the beautiful illustrations above, which reminded us of the work of Le Petit Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. "Here is a fashion idea to help remind people to keep their distance: A Social Distancing Cape and Hat Ensemble," she wrote!

Every day, Síle Convery, an English tutor who used to run Knit One One in Berkeley, and her friend Amy Prentiss hop on FaceTime to share their crafting from the previous day. "Our theme is weather," Sile told us. "We decided we had to use the materials we had on hand." The image here was made over three days in mid-March. The knitted square has the three days in one square, Sile said. The paper cards: one card per day. "As you may be able to see, the weather was a bit gloomy at that time— the early days of sheltering in place," she said.

Porch parties! They're all the rage. Peter Sussman shared the great photo above of a happy-hour gathering of his neighbors. Before you say, wait some people are clearly closer than six feet apart, be assured those are the people who are sheltering together under one roof.

Another way of getting together while on lockdown: Melina Fike is home from college and wanted to find a creative way to see her friends while practicing social distancing. Sunset and dinner tailgate-style anyone?
Donate to Berkeleyside to support our journalism.

Several readers sent us photographs of this sign which they spotted at the corner of Marin and Hilldale in North Berkeley. Photo: Carly Loveman
 
Community resources and suggestions
JEWISH COMMUNITY EFFORT Jana Loeb reached out to let us know about efforts her Jewish community in Berkeley, centered around Congregation Beth Israel, is undertaking to assist at-risk members of the community during the shelter-in-place order. "We'd like to share what our community is doing to both inform others about ways to help one another, and also to glean ideas from others," she wrote and shared a document that a local organizer, Chaim Stauber, has put together that can serve as a template for others.

MUTUAL AID NETWORK Launched by local residents, Berkeley Mutual Aid Network wants to ensure that all individuals in our community have their basic needs met and know they are not alone. The goal: to match one low-risk individual with one high-risk individual so that they may check-in on one another via phone or other appropriate means and so that they low-risk individual can help the high-risk individual with any necessary errands or tasks.

BERKELEY RELIEF FUND The city of Berkeley has put up $3 million for the Berkeley Relief Fund and is seeking a match of a further $3 million from the community, including businesses. By lunchtime Saturday, the community had donated $573,000, led by $250,000 from Bayer US. The funds will be used for emergency relief grants to small businesses, nonprofit arts organizations and residential tenants that are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be collected by the East Bay Community Foundation. Berkeleyside is a community partner of the Berkeley Relief Fund.
The chalk gallery

A heartfelt message in chalk supporting all the people putting their health on the line for the rest of us — seen on Amador and photographed by Todd Forbush

Photo, taken on Evelyn Avenue, by Peter Nurkse

Chasing rainbows. Photo by Anna Mindess

Some free gardening education courtesy of a neighbor. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Watch: Shelter-in-place comedy — the apocalypse is coming!
 
Sandy Simon shared this short video shot by her daughter, Morgan Brady, 36, a few days after the Bay Area shelter-in-place order came down. "The more I watch it the harder I laugh," Simon said. Brady lives on Walnut Street with her husband, Eddie Augustus, who is the athletic director at a Richmond magnet school — and the "in-home dishwasher"!
Do you value Berkeleyside? Help us do more by donating.

Nancy Van House spotted this gorgeous 'thank you' sign in front of a neighbor's home on March 20.
Some, mostly uplifting, reading
If ever there was a time for tea it's now (Berkeleyside)
Alone together: People are coming together on the internet (NYT The Daily)
If you can sew, you can help those on front lines of COVID-19 (Berkeleyside)
Don't panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages (WaPo)
Breathe: Learn diaphragmatic breathing (Healthline)
Good news: Berkeleyside has started covering Oakland (Berkeleyside)
Have something to share about how you and your community are coping with the current crisis? Send us a tip, photos and videos.
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