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From Chalk Art Messages to Driveway Happy Hours and Teddy Bears and Lights in the Window, Neighborh

It can be hard to be happy, hopeful or even smile during a pandemic. We've never been under this type of extended lock down before in California and facing grim health statistics that keep rising each day. But many people are finding ways to get creative to spread some cheer while we're sheltered in our homes. From Teddy Bear hunts to virtual Happy Hours to impromptu concerts, people are finding ways to send messages of support to each other.

My Orangevale neighborhood has had a Farmers Market outside one house with plastic bags and gloves; sidewalk chalk art greetings and a Facebook Live concert by jazz pianist Cecil Ramirez.

Some neighbors on my block busted out Christmas lights to brighten things up.

Some neighborhoods are putting Teddy Bears in the window for children to have a neighborhood hunt to break up the boredom. One man bought a dozen colorful spinning pinwheels at the dollar store and placed them around his neighborhood. A fitness instructor led a workout in her street. There have been Happy Hours in the driveway or online if friends live further away. Others are making signs and posters for their windows, thanking health care workers.

One man asked everyone in his neighborhood to put up American flags, and they did. My friend Toni Horvath said Shelter in Patrol flyers went out in her neighborhood, providing everyone's phone number in case someone needed help with shopping or chores.

Many are using this time off to teach. Instagram friend James Shaw plays his guitar to kids' tunes while his son, Jack, points to pictures of animals in the song. Writer Joey Garcia, a teacher, is posting videos of herself reading storybooks to children in her soothing voice. Sacramento Kings G-league announcer Morgan Ragan posted a video on Twitter of basketball drills kids could practice at home (I'm going to show this to my grandson, Ryder, so he can learn some skills.)

I named just a few. What is your neighborhood doing to reach out to others?

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