Gear Up

Do your part and donate to food pantries

By Mike Jopek

It hit last year in a remote part of the world. Most people ignored it. Others mocked it. Some said it would never travel here to America.

Today, every state in the nation is infected with a deadly virus with no cure or vaccine. Pandemic wasn’t my prepper scenario. I prefer a less lethal reason to stock the cupboards.

My architect nephew working in San Francisco is among the 6 million residents maintaining a 24-hour curfew for three weeks. My firefighter-paramedic nephew and other emergency workers like him have daily temperature monitoring protocols and full personal protective equipment requirements for more calls.

Montana shut down public schools, discouraged gathering in groups, and certain county health departments told bars and restaurants to close. The push aims to blunt the disease allowing hospitals and healthcare professions longer amounts of time to safely treat the sick. If nurses get sick or beds are full, that’s a disaster.

People are rattled, scared, and hunkering down, for a while. These days, leadership matters and the heroes may be the pizza guy offering curbside pickup or an EMT saving your life.

You decide how to help. Safely do your part. Keep tabs of your family, friends and neighbors.

We’ve made many changes on our farm over the weeks. This pandemic is a whopper and may last for the next year and a half with waves of infection popping up throughout the nation, according to some experts. My paramedic nephew is more optimistic and says one to two months.

During World War I, a hundred years ago, was the last virus of this swiftness to sweep the world. The two-year Spanish Flu killed up to 50 million people.

All the outbreaks combined that have plagued the planet since the Spanish Flu, the Russian Flu, HIV, Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, and Swine Flu, killed fewer people.

This pandemic has all the signs of infecting millions of people locally, nationally and globally. I hope healthcare can handle it. We’re on the forefront of an exponential curve. I hope to God I’m wrong. I did write this last week during social isolation. I’d be happy to be wrong.

Either way the preparing began, and the grocers had an impossible time keeping up with demand. Last week one couldn’t buy toilet paper in the valley or online. Who knows what’s next.

All the oral thermometers at Amazon, Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens were sold out. Fever reducing medicine like simple Tylenol was difficult to source.

Look, we’re all in this together, rich or poor, sick or healthy. People need help. Do your part.

Donate money to the North Valley Food Bank. Go online and punch in your credit card numbers. The leaders at the pantry will make sure the funds get spent well and your dollars will help feed hungry people in our communities.

Do your part. Give cash online to the food pantries throughout the valley. Let them source bulk food and get it to hungry kids, moms, and families.

On our farm, we’ll do our small part. We’re growing more food. I hope a lot of farms in the valley and state are planning to expand production. I’m not sure how we’ll get all the work done or how food best gets to people. Regardless we seed, make row, and prepare.

Preparing is what you should be doing. Gear up to help. Give the food banks some cash, online.

God, let me be wrong about the dark days crap. Until then, I’ve tried to track friends, laugh a bit, and turn on the music. Our towns are full of kind people. The Flathead needs your help. Do your part and stay safe. With some help, we’ll get through this.

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