Blog Viewer

COVID-19 Community Response Roundup: Caring for Caretakers & Teddy Bear Hunts

March 30, 2020 | COVID-19 Community Response Roundup: Caring for Caretakers & Teddy Bear Hunts | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC |

3_30_Blog_Image.pngTeddy Bears from Downtown Dublin's Bear Hunt (Photo credit: Downtown Dublin) and hearts on the shop signs around Niantic Main Street (Photo credit: Niantic Main Street)

The COVID-19 Community Response blog series features ideas and approaches that local Main Street America programs are taking in response to the pandemic. We will be posting these roundups frequently throughout the duration of the crisis. To view the full collection of roundups as well as access our robust collection of coronavirus-related resources, please visit our COVID-19 Main Street Resources webpage.

Taking Care of Caretakers. Batavia MainStreet in Batavia, Illinois, launched an online fundraiser this weekend to bring food to frontline workers. With a fundraising goal of $15K, this Main Street program plans to use the funds to purchase meals from local restaurants to deliver to essential workers in hospitals, urgent care centers, blood donation centers, and more. Launched only three days ago as of this writing, Main Street Batavia has already raised $14,705 towards their goal!

Teddy Bear Hunts. Many Main Street programs across the nation, such as Downtown Dublin in Dublin, Georgia, are placing teddy bears in the windows of downtown businesses and residence to create “Bear Hunts.” Spying stuffed animals on these hunts provide an excellent way to engage kids on walks outside as well as an additional friendly face in downtown stores.

Virtual Tours of Public Art. The murals of Downtown San Marcos in San Marcos, Texas, have a new virtual home. Downtown San Marcos announced this weekend that—with thanks to their partners at Tour San Marcos—the public art in their commercial corridors are now online as a virtual walking tour, complete with information about each piece. This is the perfect way for community members and wishful vacationers alike to take a walk downtown while still adhering to state and national health recommendations.

Spread the Love. Paper hearts are popping up in shops, along bridges, and along door-frames in many states as a sign of solidarity. Proud of their history as a “small village with a big heart,” Niantic Main Street in Niantic, Connecticut is encouraging their community to place hearts around downtown to show support for their community Their residence have responded in abundance, with hearts appearing on everything from store signs to billboards. Ormond MainStreet in Ormond Beach, Florida, has kicked off a new initiative featuring paper hearts. Called “Hearts F♥️r Heroes,” calls the community to put a heart on front doors to show support for those working on the frontline during COVID-19. “We hope that this initiative will brighten the day of those working so hard to keep us safe and healthy and let them know how much we appreciate them,” said Mayor Bill Partington.

Merch for Support. Several programs are selling merch to raise money for their downtown businesses. Ellensburg Downtown Association is promoting a beautiful new design from a local print shop. These “Kittias County Strong” shirts are available for purchase with $10 to be donated to a business of the buyer’s choosing. McKinney Main Street in McKinney, Texas partnered with other economic development organizations around their town to create “Support Local #McKinneyStrong” t-shirts. 100% of the net proceeds from these t-shirts will be distributed back to the community, with half of the funds going towards McKinney non-profits and the other half towards McKinney businesses.

We look forward to sharing more Main Street community responses. Please fill out this form if your community has implemented an idea or approach you'd like to contribute.

Community Responses Across the Map

View our growing collection of community responses across the Main Street America Network using the interactive map below.

Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal, insurance, liability, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, insurance, tax, and accounting advisors for guidance on these matters.