Southington Strong brings the ‘social’ to ‘social media’

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While residents of Southington practice “social distancing,” keeping away from others physically, the community is finding new ways to be intimate. Many are coming together in the virtual world through social media.

One resident, local business owner Jack Perry, created a Facebook page with the idea of Southington residents helping their neighbors through this time of uncertainty. “Southington STRONG” took off, gaining almost 3,000 members in the first week.

“This is a very strong community, and we help each other out. We get so much done when we all pitch in a little,” said Perry. “Right now, people are getting scared, feeling uncertain. The state is taking the steps to protect us, but the government can only help us so much. This is where the community needs to come together and help each other out.”

People have come to the aide of others in a variety of ways already. Some members of the group have shared live updates on what stores have toilet paper or bottled water. Others have used it to share photos of uplifting messages written in chalk on their driveways. Businesses have used the group to post their hours of operation and explain to residents how their policies have been effected amidst state regulations.

“On the first day, one woman had posted that her husband was in the emergency room after he fell and slipped a disk in his back,” said Perry. “It was his birthday, and all he wanted was a black iced coffee, but the hospital was not allowing visitors.”

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Perry said a hospital staff member had seen the post, went down to the cafeteria, and got the man a black iced coffee.

“It was something so simple but it made his day better,” said Perry. “It’s the little things that make a big difference. We can find solutions together, and we will overcome this.”

Perry said people can rally together through social media. In another much larger Facebook group, “Southington Talks,” administrators of the group have been doing their best to keep residents informed.

“Folks on Southington Talks are mainly concerned about this unprecedented time that we’re living through,” said one of the page’s administrators, Walter Grover. “With nearly 50% of all Southington residents over the age of 18 on Southington Talks, advertising daily on the page can reach a large audience of people looking for products and services. Many local businesses have done well on the page and it’s absolutely free.”

Grover said the best way people can help others through social media is through compassion and understanding while people are facing uncertainty and anxiety. In the group, people have posted educational websites for children, live video feeds for events and religious services, at-home exercise videos, offered baby-sitting services, grocery store runs and more. Local government leaders have posted updates in the group as well.

“I love my community because we always come together to help one another,” said Grover.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at News@SouthingtonObserver.com.