During these challenging times, I am heartened by the response coming from our community leaders, organizations and citizens.

Most especially, I appreciate how we take care of our neighbors. The response to the COVID-19 coronavirus health crisis underscores that our community knows how to come together. We share concern for family, friends and neighbors, both here in New Albany and across central Ohio.

The New Albany Community Foundation serves New Albany families and organizations who want to have a positive impact in the community.

We recently announced that through its donors, the foundation acted quickly to help our neighbors in need of assistance by expediting grants:

* $10,000 to the New Albany Food Pantry in support of its efforts to respond to families in need.

* $10,000 to the New Albany-Plain Local School District to provide resources to support student learning and individual student needs to protect the safety and welfare of our children during the coronavirus pandemic.

* $20,000 to the COVID-19 Fund of the Columbus Foundation, which is supporting a number of initiatives aimed at helping the most vulnerable throughout central Ohio.

If you are feeling a bit depressed with all of the bad news lately, I read an article by John Anderer titled, "The Bright Side: Coronavirus Is Bringing Communities, Couples Closer Together."

In the article, Anderer cites a recent survey of 2,000 residents in the United Kingdom that revealed a few unexpected benefits of the coronavirus situation. Here's what Anderer wrote:

"In this modern age, it's become increasingly common for neighbors and community members to ignore each other and almost never speak. Well, 25% of respondents agree the coronavirus outbreak has led to conversations with neighbors (at a safe distance, of course) who they hardly knew at all before a few weeks ago. Additionally, 64% believe that COVID-19 has brought their community closer together in a variety of ways.

"It's well established at this point that the elderly and immunocompromised are particularly vulnerable to the virus. So 30% of respondents have started checking in on their older relatives, and 23% are doing the same for neighbors in need. A full third of survey participants have started grocery shopping for neighbors and family members who are unable to leave the house.

"Meanwhile, other people have donated to a food bank (13%), volunteered for a charity (10%) or decided to patronize a small business instead of a larger chain store (28%).

"We could all use a little more support right now, so it's very encouraging to see that over 40% of respondents' communities or neighborhoods have set up a help group for in-need locals."

In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to monitor ways in which we can support our neighbors and our community. Thanks to all of you who have volunteered, donated or checked in on friends and neighbors.

Lynne Smith is chairwoman of the New Albany Community Foundation board of trustees.