Dealing with sudden, dramatic changes in life is anything but easy. Add in good doses of stress and uncertainty, and you have a recipe for a cake no one wants to eat. Right now, everyone, all over the world has been served a slice of that cake.

One thing is for certain. The familiar human contact we all thrive on, is missing. While trying to figure out ways to be with others, many people are struggling because nothing replaces a good old-fashioned hug and smile.

In the Virgin Islands we are certainly adaptable to adversity, listening to scientific advice while at the same time trying to nourish our souls. Age has its long-deserved benefits, but in the middle of a pandemic, it’s isolating. The community is reaching out, finding lost and vulnerable people every possible way. Teachers are seeking their students, and food kitchens are preparing meals. Daily phone calls to those completely shut in and food delivered are bringing a bit of happiness to those closed off to everything. With all this, it’s still hard.

Strength comes in numbers. Alone doesn’t work. It’s up to everyone who is able, to find those that are truly alone or have been missed. Reaching out, albeit in a different way from what we did in the past, will keep us all steady and united, until we can all be together again.

— Maria Ferreras is a longtime St. Thomas resident and community volunteer. She can be reached at