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Spreading Love: A Community's Support for Frontline Workers

Joying Yang
Grade 11
“A person’s true nature is revealed at times of the greatest adversity.” This quote by Japanese philosopher Daisaku Ikidea was seemingly proven as the global pandemic progressed. Compounded frustration culminated in acts of hate and countries and individuals alike rushed to play the blame game when the coronavirus spiralled out of control. But as many have noted, our shared struggles have also united some of us and evoked kindness and empathy for each other. One recent example has unfolded in r/SkincareAddiction, a community on the social media platform Reddit.

Although Reddit has been criticized for producing controversial subreddits– community-like groups moderated by volunteers– not all are riddled with toxicity and hate. In r/SkincareAddiction, users from around the globe gather to discuss and share anything and everything related to skincare, including products, tips, and news. Here, people looking to improve their skin and newcomers to the community are met with enthusiasm from skincare veterans and the overall helpfulness of the r/SkincareAddiction has allowed it to grow to over a million members. When COVID-19 hit, the community did not stay complacent. Within a few weeks, a system for supporting the heroes of the pandemic was put in place.

In March, a thread called “Self-care packages for health workers!” was posted by a user who announced a matching project that would allow members of the community to send packages of care items to frontline workers. The idea was apparently inspired by a past post from a nurse in Seattle who was given a package of mostly skincare after mentioning the irritation she experienced from wearing personal protective equipment all-day. Since then, the community moderators have encouraged everybody to support health care workers who were “putting their health and safety on the line to help others” by sending packages of skincare, lotions, snacks, or lip balms. The matching system has made 419 confirmed deliveries and health care workers who received packages also took to posting in the subreddit to express their gratitude.

Although sending packages requires a heavy investment of both money and time, volunteers from countries all over the world eagerly jumped at the opportunity to spread kindness and support for those on the frontlines. This bustling community on Reddit serves as a heartwarming reminder that, amidst all the chaos and tragedy currently transpiring, we are united.