Hey, everyone. We know the last week has felt overwhelming at times as we increasingly feel the impact of the coronavirus in our region and across the country. Our newsroom has been working hard to cover every aspect of this important story, so you’ve probably noticed the flood of information and news stories about the virus. But there are other things going on, too: a former juvenile delinquent is now a lawyer, skeptical kids are eating foods that grossed them out because they cooked them, and a player on a Philly high school football team has made a lasting impact on her school.

Of course, this newsletter will continue to bring you what you need to know about the coronavirus, but we’re going to continue to tell other stories about the amazing things people in our communities are accomplishing. We all could use a smile right about now. Stay safe out there. ❤️

Looking back just a week, the Philadelphia region felt a lot different. Now, many suburban businesses are closed and churches were empty yesterday. Last night, Gov. Wolf ordered restaurants and bars to close for dine-in service in Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Allegheny Counties for two weeks starting today. People have started to hunker down. And public officials say that another week of increasingly stringent policies is inevitable. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey made the decision to close all schools. Pennsylvania has more than 60 cases, while New Jersey has almost 100 presumptive positive cases.

In Philadelphia, the health commissioner announced yesterday that four new cases were diagnosed, which doubled the citywide total to eight. But even so, Mayor Jim Kenney isn’t being as aggressive in his containment measures as his counterparts in Philly’s suburbs. Kenney is concerned that more stringent containment measures will disproportionately harm poor residents in Philadelphia. With schools in the city closed, the school district released a list of 30 meal pickup locations for families to get school-provided breakfast and lunch service while schools are closed.

News about the coronavirus is changing quickly. Go to inquirer.com/coronavirus for the latest information. And for nightly updates sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

“But in times of crisis, acts of kindness weigh that much more. In the midst of a disaster or tragedy or now, the coronavirus pandemic, it’s often the smallest act of kindness that gives us the most hope,” writes columnist Helen Ubiñas. She has been collecting and reporting on stories that offer a “glimmer of hope.”

People are helping their neighbors. Businesses and organizations — large and small — are also trying to do their part. Restaurants and bar owners are deciding whether to stay open or close. And for your neighborhood bakery or the small business down the street, we have to act fast to help, columnist Maria Panaritis writes.

This will be a good resource to bookmark. It has links to our coverage of what’s open and closed, what services are being affected, and updates on the best ways to get around if you need to.

Also, if you’re social distancing, a strategy to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, streaming services are offering new movie options for the months ahead. And, this weekend, worshipers changed how they observed services, with one church suspending services but offering communion at a makeshift drive-through in the church driveway.

That’s interesting

  • 🔔🔔🔔Restaurant critic Craig LaBan visited a new Rittenhouse Square pasta joint helmed by a black belt jujitsu instructor and the former partner of famed chef Marc Vetri. “And any doubts over [chef Jeffrey] Michaud’s talent or vision can be summarily dismissed after some truly memorable meals ... as one distinctive pasta after the next wrapped me tighter in the embrace of next-level noodles," LaBan writes.
  • ⚖️When Carmen Day became a lawyer, she accomplished a childhood dream. It all began with a promise she made 13 years ago to a judge in Camden County as she stood in front of him as a juvenile delinquent. Instead of facing jail time, she got a second chance. This week, she started a job at a firm two months after getting her juris doctorate with honors from Rutgers-Camden Law School.
  • 🤢➡️😋When you were a kid, certain foods were non-negotiable. They just grossed you out. It turns out, though, that skeptical children will eat them if they help cook them.
  • 🙌When Edison High School senior Barbara Dussinger graduates in June, the school is going to have trouble replacing all that she did. The culinary arts student was a center on the Owls’ basketball team, played defensive line on the football team, ran a cross-country meet, played third base on the softball team, was a peer mentor, and was the student body president. Oh, and another thing: She has all A’s along with one B on her report card while helping her fellow students get to class and earn good grades.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

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Opinions

“It’s time the Yanks’ take on traditional music – or at least their hits most likely to get played at pubs — better reflected this evolving nation.” — writes Michael Malone, a writer, about how American musicians have turned Irish music into a booze-soaked joke just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, which is tomorrow.

What we’re reading (non-coronavirus edition)

Your Daily Dose of | Breaking a sweat for others

Along with the miles they ran, minutes the played, and innings they logged, student-athletes at Thomas Jefferson University recorded a total of 3,583 hours of community service last fall.