Editor’s note: This story has been edited to remove personal information that was inadvertently included.
The COVID-19 virus shutdown the world over the last year, and many of us will look back with only hate towards 2020 as the worst year ever.
The pandemic year definitely was an especially rough one for many people and their families. But it also led to many people trying new things, discovering hobbies, and partaking in acts of human kindness.
While being stuck inside many people suddenly had a lot more time than they had before. Extra time led to more and more people trying to learn to do more things in their homes. One of those things is cooking.
For many people they took to it as a way of coping with how much more time on their hands that they had. A poll from HUNTER, one of the country’s leading food and beverage public relations and marketing communications agencies, polled 2,064 Americans ages 18-73, and found that more than 54 percent reported cooking more than the before quarantine and 46 percent reported baking more.
Something else that has made a massive surge with people is the video game industry. From console and video game sales to streamers making money just to play for an audience, the video game community has never been bigger.
While other forms of entertainment such as movies have taken a hit video games are coming out stronger than ever. The streaming platform Twitch even exceeded a record three billion hours watched, according to a report from the software service Streamlabs.
“I liked the idea of having a community of my own and being able to experience gaming with other people,” said a local streamer named Ciarra Michaelis, who had gotten into streaming over quarantine. “I largely have to focus on school and that takes a lot out of me and my energy. So when I have the time to even think about streaming, I’m excited and happy.”
She isn’t alone in this ever-growing group who have used video games as a way to stay in touch with one another and to even make new connections. According to Twitch tracker data the number of streamers had a 125 percent increase from 2019 to 2020.
As the quarantine dragged on people started to become tired of being locked inside and looked for more things to do outside.
“When quarantine hit I started taking pictures a lot more” said Josh Fernandes, 22. “That and I started to get back into skateboarding for the first time since high achool.” He, like many others, turned to new, and in some cases old, hobbies in the outside world just to get some air.
Camping also surged during quarantine while people were otherwise stuck inside. “The California State Parks camping reservation system also saw a surge — 97,417 reservations made from Feb. 1-March 11, up from 54,825 during the same period last year,” spokesman Jorge Moreno said in a release according to the Los Angeles Times.
Close to half of those people who went camping were going for the first time during quarantine or hadn’t camped in recent years, according to a survey from Kampgrounds of America.
Beyond all the personal skills people may have learned this year or hobbies they got into there has also been some seriously amazing acts by some amazing people. The most obvious are the frontline essential workers for being out there and helping in the biggest epidemic we have seen in our lifetimes.
The Gospel Center Rescue Mission in Stockton is one of those doing it’s part. According to Melanie Townsend of the FOX 40 News the center “acquired a separate facility to become a part of the Project Roomkey initiative and suppress overcrowding in nearby homeless shelters by taking in at-risk and potentially COVID-19-positive patients.”
Stories are all around of people and organizations helping one another if you look around in these “uncertain times” that has become the name for the new normal.
When people were told to stay at home for an amount of time they decided to do something new and make the best of their rough situation that life handed them. Whether they were an essential worker, tried something new like streaming video games, going camping for the first time, or even just trying to help out the community in any way they could.