As we find our “new normal” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, stories of kindness, generosity and hope are emerging like spring blossoms all around us. Tales of ordinary folks doing the extraordinary sure to brighten our days, warm our hearts and help us focus on the positive.
We thrive on the inspirational stories of communities coming together to spread joy, offering all of us a welcome distraction from the reality of these complicated times.
And Elfster’s generous gift-giving communities all over the world are no exception. In these days of social distancing, we’re still able to lean on one another from afar. We are still connecting virtually on a mission to “do good.” I’m sure we’d all agree — we are better together.
Staying Home & Staying Connected
It’s no secret that exercise will improve your immune system and has a profound positive impact on your mental health. These days, that’s more important than ever.
For many, the closing of gyms and health clubs nationwide suddenly made it tougher to maintain a predictable exercise regimen from home.
Enter the masters of at-home fitness — the Peloton People. Led by upbeat and motivating fitness instructors (who are currently broadcasting from their homes), Peloton offers live and on-demand indoor cycling and fitness classes streamed right into your own home, offering a sense of unity and community, and these days, the comfort of social distance. Even when riders are tacking on the miles at home, they are never alone. Members of this motivated community find strength in numbers and cheer each other on as they connect to ride with friends through the Peloton app.
It goes without saying, members of the Peloton community make every effort to stay connected with their like-minded peers by supporting and challenging each other all day, every day. No excuses.
Peloton Riders Going the Extra Mile for Frontline Heroes
These days, not all heroes wear capes. And though they personally may not admit to the title, a new brand of “Frontline Heroes” has emerged that has earned our collective respect. When they are not decked out in fitness gear, these members of the Peloton community don scrubs, uniforms and masks. Healthcare workers and first responders, side-by-side with countless other essential workers, are working courageously around the clock to keep their local communities safe while selflessly risking personal exposure to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. They are our protectors. They possess unique super powers: Super strength. Speed. Durability. Agility.
To bring attention to the extraordinary efforts of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, this cycling group is going the extra mile for the frontline heroes in their own community. The “Peloton Riders Giving Back” group has come together to show healthcare workers and first responders (who also happen to be members of some of the same Peloton tribes) just how grateful they are.
Elfster Provides the Tools to Connect
This group of 100 participants, made up of generous “Givers” and all too humble “Heroes,” were brought together by Peloton enthusiast Jill Carrero of Flagstaff, AZ, who saw this great opportunity to spread some joy and bring a smile to the faces of those who have stepped up for all of us as we navigate our shared crisis. Using the Elfster website, the frontline heroes created wish lists to share their interests and offer gift suggestions, like fitness gear in many cases. One giver was then assigned to one frontline hero and Elfster provides the tools to connect.
“I am part of the Peloton online community. If you don’t know, Peloton is an online community of people who own Peloton bikes or participate in fitness classes,” Jill says.
“Within the Peloton family there are ‘tribes’ of people who ride together — Peloton Singles Group, Pelowinos, Peloton Nurses Group, Peloton SeaxySwarm, Peloton Fitter over 50. You get the idea. There are literally 100’s of groups so riders can find people who share their affinities or are in the same age group,” she explains. “I sent out messages to the groups I belonged to asking for front line people to sign up to receive gifts and others to be givers. All but one of the groups I belong to allowed me to ask people to participate.”
Taking the Opportunity To Give Back
And just what did Jill intend to achieve by creating this opportunity to go the extra mile for these frontline heroes? The answer is really pretty simple, according to Jill:
“I’d like the heroes that are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic to come home after a crazy long shift to a random act of kindness on their front step,” Jill says. “It is a way to say thank you to strangers who are trying to keep us alive and our communities thriving in a horrific situation.”
And Jill is not new to being part of an Elfster online Gift Exchange. “One of my groups used Elfster for a Christmas gift exchange among strangers,” she explains. “I remember how excited my recipient was. Everyone posted pictures of their gifts. It was a happy time. I wanted to create a little happiness in a time I think we needed it. People have been excited to participate.”
Have those on the frontline expressed appreciation for this opportunity to be recognized for their efforts?
“YES!” she exclaims. “I got a number of responses from doctors and nurses saying thank you in advance. I also got note’s from them saying they were ‘just doing their jobs’ and we should help people who really needed it. This is exactly why I wanted to say thank you to them. They are all so selfless.”
In Times of Uncertainty, We Are Better Together
Jill hopes other groups may follow her lead. She encourages members of communities in a position to go that extra mile to spread hope and generosity:
“I would encourage you to see if there are places in your communities where you can spread some love too. Maybe your local grocery store, hospital, farms, diaries. There are a LOT of people working hard to keep our communities working. It’s a small thing to say thank you with a random act of kindness,” she says.
And just how much do these gifts mean to the receiver? Check out this kind message from healthcare worker Tiara Stingley to her Peloton Giver:
“Orrie, I am literally IN TEARS at your kindness. I received the package and I just literally have no words. When I signed up, I thought no one would send anything and that was just fine. We are working on the frontlines because we love our patients and do not expect anything in return. I just literally have no words. Thank you. So much. “
Uncertainty. These days, the world offers plenty of that. But one thing is certain. There is still plenty of goodness in the world. We look forward to sharing more stories of ordinary folks doing the extraordinary to help us focus on the positive. We can get through these challenging times… together.
Looking for an easy way to spread joy in your community? Try a Secret Santa generator that simplifies the process. Elfster makes it easy to pair people up, shop for gifts, and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.