These are strange times, but in the midst of the concerns, the courage and compassion we’ve seen make us grateful.

To start, there are the people out working to keep society from collapsing while the rest of us hide at home: law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency dispatchers, health-care workers, child-care providers, grocery-store employees, pharmacists and pharmacy employees, bankers, electricians, plumbers, utility company employees, custodians, hardware store employees, food manufacturers, postal workers, local government employees in essential roles and others. Too many of you have been under-appreciated for too long.

Thank you for playing essential roles, even before now. We hope no one, including you, ever again doubts how much of a difference you make.

We’re also grateful for the way we’ve seen our community members help each other. New programs have sprung up to offer assistance, people have donated to neighbors and strangers, and organizations have gone out of their way to lighten loads, whether by stopping utility shutoffs, giving money or food, running donation drives or any number of other efforts.

Plus, an unknown number individuals are quietly helping friends or strangers out of the spotlight.

None of these people “have” to do these things, but those actions encourage us and show us our truest strength lies in pulling together.

To everyone who’s given a hand — or a roll of toilet paper — thank you. You offer not only physical help, but also hope and a warm heart.