Even in the midst of COVID-19, the Northwest Arkansas community is finding ways to put compassion in action

Cover photo by @monicaramel on Instagram

This blog series is going to be quick and to the point, we'll be highlighting three examples (updated periodically) of community members showing up for one another throughout the region. We believe smiles are contagious and this post intends on spreading them far and wide.

1. Meals For Local Healthcare Heroes

This week, Ropeswing Hospitality Group partnered with Tyson Foods and local farms (Rios Family Farm, Fat Top Farm, KT Produce and Red Barn Bentonville) to provide 100 delicious, healthy meals for healthcare heroes at Mercy Hospital. Billing itself as the NWA Relief Network, the group plans to continue to prepare and deliver food to medical staff across Northwest Arkansas. (Source: KNWA)

2. The Aerosol Box Project

The Aerosol Box Project of Northwest Arkansas, organized by Dayton Castleman (and made possible with the assistance of local makers and tinkerers), was inspired by the design of a simple protective device for use when intubating patients shared by Dr. Lai Hsien-Yung, a doctor in Taiwan. The first box, created by Joel Gordon, was delivered on Tuesday, March 24 to Mercy Hospital.

The Mercy Health System has requested production of 50 of the boxes for distribution to its hospitals as well as Northwest Health and Washington Regional hospitals to help overcome supply shortages created by the coronavirus pandemic. The group organizing the production of the boxes is actively accepting tax-deductible contributions through the Rogers Experimental House. Learn more HERE.

3. The Great Dog Food Distribution

On Monday, March 23, the NWA Mutual Aid Facebook Group organized a group of volunteers and distributed FIVE TONS of dog food to local organizations throughout Northwest Arkansas.

This update from one of the primary organizers of this project, Luke Gould, said it best:

"Moving five tons of dog food takes collaboration! Again: I'm not an experienced organizer. NWA Mutual Aid is not an actual organization or agency. We are all of y'all: just some folks who want to do our part to build community connection and make meaningful contributions to the lives our neighbors. For this effort, we partnered with some really fantastic local entities who do great work in our community. But what I want to highlight here is that EVERY human being has worth and value to offer the community. We all have something to give, and we all have something that we need. Mutual aid can be as simple as helping the folks next door with their chores or as complex as assembling a team of good folks ready to serve. Each of us has a part to play, and I'm so grateful for this community and what we've helped build. I appreciate all of y'all: for your support, your engagement, your patience with me as I fumble my way through this, and most importantly for your care and compassion for others." (Source: Facebook)

4. Fuel the Fight NWA

Inspired by a fundraiser in Philadelphia and organized locally by 2 Locas Brand, this campaign raises money to buy food from local restaurants to feed local hospital workers battling COVID-19. As of March 27, the group had raised nearly $500 and already delivered meals from Bites & Bowls to Washington Regional's Emergency Department. Learn more HERE.

5. Sidewalk Chalk #playsafeinfay

Organized by the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation department, the #playsafeinfay campaign challenges families to put together the best driveway mural in town. While the contest was specific to Fayetteville, this is an activity any family throughout the region can participate in in while following social distancing guidelines.

6. Rise UP Together Campaign

Local bakery, Rockin' Baker, partnered with local nonprofit, Seeds That Feed, to start producing bread for food banks, schools, and low-income communities currently being negatively impacted by COVID-19. Thanks to donations raised through the campaign Rockin' Baker has continued operations, and with the help of cadets and volunteers been able to deliver over 2,400 servings as of the week of March 23! Hear an update from, founder of Rockin' Baker, Daymara Baker HERE.

This series drew some inspiration from the following local initiatives:

B-Unlimited designed this NWA Strong T-Shirt to allow our community to remember the strength and perseverance they have shown through this uncertain time. Together, we are stronger.

B-Unlimited is donating 20% of sales from these t-shirts to the NWA Food Bank to directly support the Northwest Arkansas community including families & children affected by school closings and lost meals. You can purchase one HERE.

Update: As of Thursday, March 26, B-Unlimited has raised enough to donate 30,000 meals!

On April 2, Northwest Arkansas will come together with hundreds of nonprofits for 12 hours of epic giving. As those on the frontlines face this crisis head-on, financial support for their efforts couldn't be more critical. Let's meet the needs of Northwest Arkansas, together! Learn more HERE.

We got this Northwest Arkansas.

Stay safe and stay healthy! #TogetherApart #VirtuallyTogether

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