By Pamela Dozois

Within every negative there is a positive. Somewhere in the middle of the night I woke up with the idea of writing a story about the POSITIVE effects COVID-19 has had on our small community. I sent out a bunch of emails to residents asking them about some of the good things they are experiencing due to being forced to stay at home. The following are some of the responses I received back. Some have asked their names be kept private, so we just put their initials. 

Several local real estate agents and construction companies pooled their money together to create nine opportunities for local residents to get a $250 gift card to a local grocery store. Thank you to Candice Signa, Karin Aitken, Patty Castillo, Carole Ann Colone, Danielle Elam Crystal, Marilyn Elam, Gigi Gerritsen, Michelle Glaus, Claire Hanssen, and Coast General Contractos Aaron and Katie Wright. 

Karma Specialty Painting also gave away four $50 gift cards to Valley Fresh Market. 

On Facebook, Bethania Lutheran Church Pastor Chris Brown created the SYV Coronavirus Community Advocacy group as a resource for people to ask for assistance, volunteer for grocery or other errands and where people can get free food. 

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church created a free meal program for residents of any age in need to either pick up, or they will also deliver to seniors, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday, beginning March 28. They are located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue on the corner of Alamo Pintado Avenue. Visit for more information. 

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is also providing home food delivery for seniors, anyone who is interested please call 805-967-5471 extension 305. 

Recovery Outreach Inc., with volunteers from Ranch Hands and Recovery Ranch have also set up a free hot meal service for anyone needing a meal. They are running daily from 4 – 7 p.m. at Santa Ynez Valley Christian Academy, located at 691 north Refugio Road in Santa Ynez. 

Jacob Grant, Roots Organic Farm, is preparing boxes of fresh organic veggies for pick up at The Lucky Hen in Santa Ynez and at Flatbread in Los Alamos. Each box is $30 and will feed a family for a week. This is a way to get vegetables without going to the market and without coming in contact with a lot of people.  You can pay with Venmo or cash in the box.

The MOXI just launched MOXI@Home ( and are sharing activities inspired by their exhibits and programs daily on their Instagram and Facebook profiles @moxisb.

The SYV Marriott is available to use their rooms as a work from home office space from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a daily rate of $75. All rooms offer free wifi, local calls, room service and public areas are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day. Call or come by and we’ll take immediate care of you: 805-687-1000 or e-mail us at: This promotion will go through April 30, or extended if need be. 

If you want to share positive stories with us, please email, and we will update this page!


“There are some of us who are patiently waiting it out. Obeying the rules means being stuck in the house. My wife has commented that it hasn’t affected her but she feels sorry for me because I like to do various things and have several outside-the-home commitments. 

But in answer to your question, she and I have been spending a lot of time on that baby quilt that we wanted to make for our grand-daughter who is due to have our great-grandchild in May. So the virus has provided a reason for me to stay glued to the cutting table next to my wife who is sewing on the machine. And I am enjoying it! 

Also, our neighbors are more visible, that is I am seeing them around more, so we have been able to talk more than usual from a distance. If there wasn’t a “social distancing” issue at the moment we would be sitting together on the porch having coffee. Maybe that will be a fallout from this temporary inconvenience. 

Yesterday I sat out in the driveway playing my guitar with my neighbor playing her mandolin and other neighbors gathered sitting around, keeping our 6-foot social distancing, serenading the folks occasionally driving by. I had been promising my neighbor Lisa that we would play music together one of these days but we just never were able to fit it in. We have time now.

By the way, in Dennis Prager’s latest fireside chat, “The silver lining to the Corona Virus” he pointed out how good our lives are, that we need to appreciate it and recognize that in the previous millennia life was typically hard. J. G. 


As a widow living alone with an autoimmune disease, this time of pandemic-imposed isolation is taking me on a roller coaster of emotions. I alternate between a state of calm peacefulness and anxious fear. 

What positive effects have I experienced and how do I stay positive-minded? I am overwhelmed with offers of assistance from friends to shop for whatever I need. Neighbors have gifted me fruit and vegetables, soup, eggs, even a bottle of wine! I get daily texts and phone calls checking on my welfare. 

As I look out my window I am acutely aware of the power of love and how uplifted I am by the concern and care from others. The weight of this pandemic and all resulting challenges will not pull us down as we positively uplift each other with words, deeds and other acts of kindness. J.L.                                               


I realized that life as I knew it had changed when, for my birthday, I received flour instead of flowers! P.K.


My friend entered a drawing for a $50 certificate for food at Valley Fresh courtesy of Karma Specialty Painting (Lori Lama). She entered her name with me in mind. I received a call from her saying she had won the drawing and the certificate was for me. I am most grateful to Karma Specialty Painting for their generosity and to my friend for thinking of me. Her call made my heart jump for joy.

Being a senior citizen, sequestered and unable to work at my three jobs, I’ve had to find things to busy myself, like reading a variety of good books, cleaning out my closet, planting a Victory Garden so that when this virus is over, which it will be, I’ll have a bounty of fruits and vegetables to enjoy. 

I’ve been doing a lot of experimental cooking, using what I have on hand – great soups, awful brownies! My friend had been going out daily (during this hoarding of food and supplies period) to find staples like flour, rice, sugar, and food that I can use to cook at home. 

My neighbor left a little financial gift at my door saying that she wanted to repay me for some small kindness I had provided to her in her time of need. 

Our little local markets in Los Alamos are doing a great job keeping the shelves stocked as best they can, but no toilet tissue yet! Thanks Mike for keeping the doors open! I’ve also spent a lot of time brushing my cat who is now mat free. I’m not sure she enjoyed it as much though! 

I am not afraid of this virus because I am surrounded by love, and love surmounts all. Loving thoughts and actions increase certain hormones in the body which strengthens the immune system. What better way to keep the virus at bay. In the end all will be fine, if not better than it was before. P.L.D.


Not being able to go to work, take my kids to school, sports practices and tournaments, appointments, normal outings such as eating lunch at our favorite restaurant has actually lowered the stress levels of our whole family.  Not having a schedule is very liberating and feels like you have freedom even though we are tethered to our home. 

I have enjoyed more meals with my family than time and schedules have ever allowed me to before, not to mention watching movies as a family as well.  The biggest thing I have noticed with the slower pace of life, is how intentional I am with everything from meal planning, spending money, how I spend time with my kids, exercise, etc.  I actually have time to think and not feel like I am on autopilot.

I have also taken the time to shop online for items that friends and family needed and had them shipped to their homes so they didn’t have to worry about going out and braving the public contact searching for items that may not be in stock.  I have sent some small gifts to some friend’s with young children to help them pass the time while being stuck at home.  

I love seeing neighbors out walking and riding bikes with their children.  I see people I have never seen before out exercising with their kids. K.D.


March 23 marked seven months since my husband succumbed to lung cancer. I grieve and wonder how he would be faring during this pandemic, had he not died. 

Positive affects you ask. I have found out how much family and friends really care about me. Some of them have less than I do but are offering anything they have that I need. It’s very humbling. 

I am a self-employed hair stylist for elderly clients at memory care facilities and I am not able to service any of them. I keep feelings of stress at bay by remembering that feeling stressed won’t help or change anything. I have to keep a positive attitude. 

Each day I have been allowed to spend another day on earth I ask what I can do to improve anyone else’s situation; how can I be of service to anyone else and not focus on what I am denied. So I set up my sewing machine and found my stored material. I will make masks with colorful Hawaiian-themed fabric. My mother has a serious illness. With my masks, she can shop for food while wearing something fun. 



First, since my Bible Study group and church are not meeting (which is where I find most of my socializing), I have been doing a lot more e-mailing and keeping in touch with friends on-line.

Second, I am a photographer of birds and butterflies and for the past few years I have been making cards. Right now I am finding that my cards are a great way to connect with people that I don’t ordinarily spend time with, but know to say “Hi” to.  I have been writing notes to 5 or 6 people each day and it makes me feel wonderful to think that maybe I am adding a bit of cheer when they pick up their mail.

Thirdly, I am walking with my camera and taking more pictures of birds and butterflies – and also flowers now.  There is so much beauty in the world that we so easily walk by without noticing. Right now is a good time to really see what blessings are all around us. I hope everyone is are seeing and hearing the birds as well.


We are a family of five and we’re keeping our spirits up by sharing quality time together. The kids love playing in the backyard. The kids visit with friends and family via electronic video chat and study math and other subjects online. Our 7-year-old says he misses his teachers at school and playing on the playground with his friends. “I feel good but sad” he said. “I have enjoyed being with family and taking walks and playing cops with my brother.” Our 5-year-old said she likes playing games on her electronic tablet and our 3-year-old said he likes playing with his toy dinosaurs, swinging on the backyard swing and playing video games with his brother. The children will start ‘distance learning’ with their teachers next week via internet conferencing application Zoom. M.R.


My heart is filled with joy in how many people in our little community of Los Alamos have shown their love and concern for others.  Making phone calls to check in on older people, asking if they need any help shopping, cooking, etc., which may include that bottle of wine to help relax! We live among many generous, loving people that are not hesitant to reach out to help someone else. I’ve seen it in action and know we will be ok and we are in this “together”. 

Something was shared with me this morning to help with kiddos out of school. People are placing stuffed teddy bears in their windows. Parents, grandparents, whomever, drive their kids around town to count how many teddy bears they can find.  I think this is such a cute way of breaking the boredom of being stuck in doors for a length of time. 

We could follow suit and put a love note in our front windows to our neighbors to see when they walk or drive by. Or have kiddos use chalk to draw something happy on driveways (my daughter and 6-year-old did this on their side walk, “Love lives here” with a rainbow and flowers, etc. I’ve asked some kids to do this on my driveway. I hope they can do it soon. Maybe we can start a trend and people can drive around the town like at Christmas time to see the lights.  I have a neighbor who still has his lights up and I love seeing them at night; they are a sweet reminder of happy times.K.C.