Look for the Helpers
by Abby Brill
Charles Dickens said it perfectly when he called the setting of his novel A Tale of Two Cities "the best of times and the worst of times."
We are all living through a strange new reality that presents us with new horrors and, remarkably, new opportunities to grow and build community every day. I don’t need to recount how the COVID-19 virus has upended our lives, but I do want to recommend not spending too much time on social media, for that way lies madness!
General Manager Sarah Decker readies a meal for pickup in the dining room of El Gato Azul.
How do we measure the health of our community in this time? Local radio stations and newspapers don’t go deep or broad enough to give us a feeling for how Prescott is managing. 5enses Magazine is feeling the burn of change like everyone else, and we have decided to rely on our online platform for the time being, which will allow us to update our information more immediately and provide in-depth interviews with those who need to be heard, via both articles and video. We are working to be your online source for how our community is coping and how you can help.
I walked downtown today and was struck by how many businesses are shuttered and how few cars are driving around. Restaurants and schools are closed, which cuts traffic a lot, and all events that would normally host large numbers of people are canceled until further notice, including Earth Day and the Whiskey Off-Road race. This virus business is bad for business.
I continually return to a quote that gives me the kick in the pants I need to keep working. It's from Fred Rogers, known by us as children as Mister Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
We have some amazing helpers in Prescott right now.
It will come as no surprise, while it's such a blessing, that Barry Barbe and his El Gato Azul crew are stepping up to help our community. The Gato is closed for in-house dining, but the whole menu is available for takeout, as well as a daily special takeout menu, including alcoholic beverages to go!
But it gets better. El Gato Community Gives is also offering meals, both warm and frozen, to people who have been adversely affected financially by the virus and just need help with food. It’s best to call ahead so the food is ready for a specific pickup time, but walk-ins will not be turned away. Please consider donating to this good cause. The organization is also creating a program providing vouchers that people can take to various participating restaurants, like Taco Don’s and Rosa’s, to exchange for food.
El Gato also has a limited assortment of groceries available for purchase, including dried beans, flour, eggs and other basics.
Barry shared that Rosa’s Pizzeria also wants to support the community in this effort, and they are scrambling to get systems in place to be most effective. Also, Lucy Dee’s BarBQue restaurant is closed now, but sent a truckload of food over to El Gato to share with those who need it. Thanks, Lucy Dee’s!
Other businesses are pitching in in their own ways to help, and I apologize that we can't cover them all. Every day looks different, on every front.
Another great initiative is PCA Serves, an effort by Prescott Center for the Arts to provide volunteer services to our older and vulnerable people in our community who need to stay safe at home. Services range from a simple phone conversation with a sympathetic listener to shopping or even live entertainment on the lawn. "This is a way for PCA to give back to this wonderful community, which has so generously supported our work over the years," says PCA Executive Director Robyn Allen. If you'd like to donate non-perishable items, volunteer or seek assistance, contact PCA Serves at 928-445-3286.
The Greater Yavapai County Coalition is a nonprofit collaboration of organizations providing an umbrella of support to members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in our county. Aside from the incredible support they offer to those who are often disenfranchised, GYCC has been putting together an online resource for food and employment opportunities. This will be of great value to those who have recently lost jobs due to virus-related closings. Contact az-gycc.org for information.
Sadly, the Prescott Farmers Market has had to shut down its weekly market at Yavapai College. However, the fine folks who run it have moved fast to provide online ordering of veggies, bread, eggs, meat and even flowers from our local farms. Order by Thursday and pick up on Saturday at their regular location, it will be all boxed and ready to pick up, without the crowd. SNAP and EBT customers can also order online. There is a list of emergency food resources on the PFM site. The PFM folks are committed to getting healthy food to those who need it. You can help support this initiative by ordering from or donating at prescottfarmersmarket.square.site.
Many local restaurants are still open for takeout business. There are too many to list, so contact your favorite restaurants to see whether they’re still open and support them by ordering takeout or purchasing a gift certificate. The Raven Café is offering takeout and curbside service. It’s fun getting your order passed through a window in front of the building.
Another fine offering from The Raven is their live-streams on Friday nights. Musicians get together inside and stream their music directly via Facebook. Many thanks to The Raven for offering this in our isolation. Visit The Raven on Facebook to catch shows by our excellent local musicians, free!
Things change so rapidly in this weird new world we live in now, and communication is harder because we can’t wander around and bump into one another much these days. We at 5enses are working to keep you updated with what’s important for you to know. Online we can post updates and new information daily, so keep checking in for stuff you need to know. We’re all in this together!
Abby Brill is editor of 5enses.