All through the year of pandemic precautions, a conversation proceeded practically everywhere. “What will all this change, and what could possibly remain the same?” For those of us committed to The Church Mouse, the answers have begun to appear.
From kitchen tables to the boardrooms of big business – or at least in the Zoom calls that took the place of executive conferences for many months – these questions were an over-arching consideration. Most of our other concerns depended to some extent on this: foreseeing what our world would be like when the threat subsided and precautions eased.
A Third Kind of Answer
One change that shows staying power is that less of the world of work will take place face to face than before the pandemic. In certain enterprises and careers, a degree of efficiency was actually added by not commuting, not interrupting on the spur of the moment, and by having to plan more specifically what a meeting would hope to achieve. After about a year of pandemic precautions, a research study reported that more than 80% of people would like to continue working from home, and more than 70% of employers were interested in letting them do that. Part of an unexpected boom in real estate and home sales stemmed from people finding that they no longer had to live within commuting distance of an office.
An example of something that remained the same turned out to be travel. Recently, Boeing received its largest-ever order for jets from United Airlines. Cruise lines are preparing to set sail again and anticipating a surge of pent-up demand. A travel industry forecaster predicted that trans-Atlantic travel would see a new peak in the summer of 2022.
A third kind of answer is exemplified by what we see here at The Church Mouse. The third answer is that some things that were important before the pandemic have become even more important to people as we see it subside. We see this in the passion of our volunteers to serve, the willingness of donors to pass along fine things that they feel others will get more good from using, and the desire for shoppers to get back to a world in which they can examine and select their purchases in-person.
A Greater-than-Ever Need
The more than 50 charitable endeavors to which The Church Mouse contributes funds find that there is an even greater need for their work than ever before. The pandemic was far harder on families whose work depended on their presence and personal contact. Hospitality workers, food and beverage specialists, home and child-care workers, and many others who are the backbone of the Lowcountry workforce, found their livelihoods practically extinguished during the depths of 2020. The return of the need for their services has been hesitant and halting.
As a result, the need for what we do at The Church Mouse is greater than ever. For this reason and many others, our gratitude for donors, volunteers, and customers is at an all-time high. Everything about The Church Mouse seems more clearly focused than ever, including our thanks.