These are tumultuous times and virtually everyone in our city, our county, our state and our country are handling stress and uncertainty beyond measure. No one is exempt.

The usual advice given in troubling times like these is to “Stay calm and carry on.” That’s all well and good, but events, closures and massive uncertainty have created a new world where it is impossible to just carry on. Every day seems to bring new challenges and raise new questions.

We are not going to suggest here that we have the answers people are seeking. We are struggling every bit as much as any of our readers. But we do know that panic and hysteria never help resolve any problem.

Certainly behavior such as hoarding commodities like canned goods, toilet paper and hand sanitizer can contribute to existing shortages. A case in point could be seen at the local Walmart store on Thursday. The store had received a shipment of various brands of toilet paper. They put it out for sale as quickly as they could, but instead of encouraging a frenzy of shopping, the store’s management blocked off that aisle and had employees handing one package at a time to individual shoppers.

As a result, everything was calm. There was no pushing or shoving. And though most of the valued TP was in larger multi-roll packages, some shoppers chose not to take more than they needed. Those folks bought the available six roll packages or admitted to themselves that they really didn’t need to buy any right now.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with those who accepted and bought their one multi-roll package. But those who took less or passed up the opportunity entirely, sent a good message to everyone involved. And that is something we should all consider when faced with a purchasing decision during this emergency.

That’s worth considering no matter what the commodity is.

When checking out at the cash register at Safeway this week, shoppers discovered that when they used a credit card, the machine displayed a dialogue box asking for a donation of $1 to $5 to help feed those who were directly affected by this emergency. That was a sobering experience, but an entirely appropriate thing for any store or business to do. It reinforces that we are all in this together. And no matter how much we are personally affected, there are many more local people and families who are less able to deal with these economic uncertainties.

The more we can do even in small ways to help each other, the better off we will all be in the long run.

We applaud the fund drive by the United Way of Albany County to gather money to help nonprofit agencies deal with the anticipated needs of local residents. This safety net of agencies will be facing numerous challenges in the near future.

To contribute to the United Way drive, go to www.unitedwayalbanycounty.org or send a check to United Way of Albany County, 710 E. Garfield St., suite 240, with a note that it is for the emergency fund.

With all of the hassles that everyone is dealing with, including the crowds and other issues in the super markets, it is also refreshing to see that courtesy and kindness still prevail. Shoppers aren’t pushing in front of each other. Nor are we seeing foolish temper tantrums or other destructive behavior.

We will get through this. And the more we retain our dignity, respect and care for others, the better we will fare in the long run.

It seems, as always, that our residents are rising to the occasion with grace and good will. And that is something we should all be proud of.

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