With Ireland’s history of emigration, this isn’t the first time distance has divided us. But, like countless times in the past, extraordinary people have stepped up to innovate, create and bring communities together.
For hundreds of years, Irish people have succeeded despite the struggles facing them. Since 2016, EPIC has been sharing their stories of kindness and resilience. Now, we want to record the positive impact Irish people are having at home and abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic. These stories will become part of an upcoming exhibition. Here is a taste of some of the inspiring people we’ve come across so far.
The ‘One Community’ Initiative – Leeds
From GAA clubs to golf societies, more than a dozen Irish groups in Leeds have come together to help the vulnerable in their community. Volunteers are dropping off shopping, medicine and pen pal letters from local children.
What started with 20 GAA players has turned into a group of over 100 volunteers – and their efforts have inspired similar initiatives around the UK. The group is also working to deliver hot meals and ‘craic packs’ full of Irish goods, newspapers and quizzes. Click here to read more.
Thanks to all the children at @CCPrimaryLeeds for helping to spread positivity & love with their messages of encouragement for our friends keeping safe by self-isolating. Any other schools interested in sharing positive messages for service users, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. pic.twitter.com/Tb5FNSSzHI
— Leeds Irish Health and Homes (@leedsirish) April 11, 2020
In March, businessman Neil Sands generously tweeted out an offer to fly two doctors home to Ireland so they could fight the pandemic on the frontlines. His tweet quickly went viral and a new movement began. Since then, many people have donated to the GoFundMe page and many healthcare workers who were backpacking across the world have returned home to help. Click here to read more.
As an Irish business owner, I am willing to fly 2 doctors home to #ireland from anywhere abroad, and house them in Dublin for the next 12 weeks. Who’s with me? (please retweet) DM me if you know someone interested. Thank you #irelandvscovid #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/4sgMPs3e7j
— Neil O. Sands (@neilosands) March 25, 2020
MyFrontlineHero.org shines a spotlight on Americans who are working through the Covid-19 pandemic. Anyone can nominate their hero, whether they’re frontline staff or supporting others during this difficult time.
Set up by the Milwaukee Irish Fest and digital agency Northwood, these heroes will appear on the website for now. Then, at next year’s Irish Fest, a special ceremony and private concert will recognize the great work they’ve done. Click here to read more.
As a pregnant Radiology RN, Taylor must take extra precautions to protect two lives, adding another level of stress to an already stressful situation. Thank you, Taylor, for your selfless efforts! Read the rest of Taylor's story at https://t.co/iwlpTjZUDy. #myfrontlinehero pic.twitter.com/yBMFEFMJCB
— My Frontline Hero (@myfrontlinehero) May 4, 2020
Last month, Belfast musician Cormac Crummey assembled nearly three dozen talented Irish musicians and dancers for an awesome collaboration from their own homes.
The tune cheered the spirits of people around the world reaching the number one spot on the iTunes World Charts. The song came with a message of hope and more are currently in the pipeline. Click here to find out more.
Over the years, the small businesses at the heart of New York’s Irish-American neighbourhoods consistently supported good causes in the local community. Now, the businesses struggling amid the current crisis are receiving financial support from the Irish community through Sláinte 2020. This collective of long-established Irish organisations was set up to offer support to anyone in need. Financial assistance and job search resources are also available to individuals. Click here to read more.
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WEEK 2 UPDATE: THANK YOU What a difference one week makes. We've quadrupled week one's intake of donations. This money is going to make a significant difference in so many of the lives of the Irish in our communities: Helping with the burden of rent, utilities, bills, and even putting food on the table. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and to those that have helped spread the word! Get your friends to throw some money into the pot and make a difference during these uncertain times.
“Together we will rise again” – Dublin
This powerful video created by Dublin creative agency The Tenth Man has touched hearts around the world. Its message of unity and hope for the future went viral and proved to be exactly what many people needed in these uncertain times. Even Michael Bublé shed a tear after watching the video. Click here to read more.
With much of the Irish community in London being elderly and more likely to live alone, the London Irish Centre responded quickly to serve their needs during the current crisis.
Its activities were adapted to protect and help those most at risk and now include delivering food parcels, hot lunches, library books, as well as a health and wellbeing helpline. Its culture team is also working on a new resource called LDNIrishTV, which will stream Irish culture and community news online. Click here to read more.
Everyone has a mental health and now more than ever it is so important to not just be kind to others but be kind to yourself. pic.twitter.com/kaONK5uZ1F
— London Irish Centre (@LDNIrishCentre) May 19, 2020
A group of Irish and Irish-Americans in New York have been delivering food to hospital staff throughout the city. They are part of the Charles N. Bajart Jr. American Legion Post, which usually supports veterans. But they have redirected their focus to support frontline staff who are working tirelessly to fight the coronavirus. Click here to read more.
#EPICIrish Exhibition – EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Do you know someone who has gone the extra mile to help others during Covid-19? We are collecting the experiences and stories of the Irish people who have helped others during the Pandemic, from front line workers to community volunteers. Nominate them to be part of our #EPICIrish exhibition and help us salute the help that Irish people have given around the world at this time.