COVID-19 in My Small Suburban Town of West Chester, Pennsylvania

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COVID-19 in My Small Suburban Town of West Chester, Pennsylvania

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In my small suburban town of West Chester, Pennslyvania, the effects of COVID-19 were abundantly evident. People of all ages were impacted in significant ways. High school graduates were forced to stay home under Governor Wolfe's stay at home advisory during a time sacred to spending time with peers before college takes us our ways. The elderly worried about the safety of doing basic tasks like grocery shopping, most likely contemplating if this basic need will be an ill-made or possibly fatal decision. Another major event to be noted was the shortages of food and other necessities in the supply chain. This was a real wake-up call for many families in my town. Anxiety and panic definitely could be seen in everyday homes. I recall my one friend racing to Costco after hearing a small supply of toilet paper was in stock. He ended up spending a couple of thousand dollars, filling five carts to the brim with essentials. The sight of many bare shelves triggered this spontaneous decision to hoard. Many families acted similarly in my area, believing that the only option was to prepare to outlast a complete shutdown.
While many businesses were forced to shut down, a local dairy farm called Bailey's Farm took advantage of the situation. It proposed a unique solution to the food shortage. Bailey's Farm began to increase its food output by collaborating with local farms across West Chester and Kennett Square. This agreement lessened competition among farms, allowing farms to focus on producing goods that they are most efficient at producing. Bernards Orchard grew a variety of fruits. Baileys Farm increased its milk and cheese production by adding more cows to their grassland. Northbrooke farms sold local pies, bread, pastries, and their famous apple cider donuts. Many other farms contributed to this network; however, these were the farms that I primarily worked with. These farms began to deliver goods to the doorstep of families. This solution relieved families from worrying about contracting COVID-19 in grocery stores, running out of food during a shortage, and simultaneously supported local farms. At the beginning of summer, I had hours of free time; I was advised to stay home and limit interactions with my friends. To utilize my time wisely, I began to look for work to have savings for college. Jobs were scarce because of the many closed businesses. I was beyond grateful when Bailey's Farm reached out and hired me as their new milkman to drive their refrigerated truck. Yes, I occupied the small niche of a milkman during a Global Pandemic.

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This item was submitted on November 8, 2020 by Ethan Baram using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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