BROOKLYN, Ohio — The coronavirus outbreak continues to highlight how people in Northeast Ohio are stepping up in a big way to help neighbors in need.
While it may feel like pretty much everything has come to a screeching halt - the mail keeps moving.
And some of the carriers crisscrossing our communities are becoming a crucial link to the outside world.
Kathleen Budzik is one of them.
For more than two decades, Budzik has been going porch-to-porch bringing the mail to people in one Brooklyn neighborhood.
“It’s your family away from your family," said Budzik.
Her role during this coronavirus outbreak has evolved from delivering bills and magazines to something much more.
“The smallest little thing you can do for someone goes so far,” said Budzik.
During a recent stop at the Riggle home, Budzik learned the elderly couple, trying to avoid stores, was struggling to restock their kitchen.
“So by talking to her, I gathered the few little items that I could pick up because she was maybe too proud to ask me to go or maybe didn’t want to put me in the line of fire," said Budzik.
After finishing her shift that day, Budzik stopped at the store ready to make a special delivery the next morning.
“We got a knock on the door and Kathy was standing there with a bag of groceries,” said Riggle.
Riggle said Budzik brought them more than just meat, bread and eggs.
“It warmed our hearts up to see that somebody had actually cared for other people,” said Riggle.
For Budzik there was also a lesson to pass along for a man she says is always looking out for his neighbors.
“He’s out there plowing the snow and I said it comes back to you, Roy. Any good deed you do comes back,” said Budzik.
That cycle of giving, which Budzik calls a gift that’s priceless, is what she said will help us all get through this together.
These days along her route, Kathleen is noticing her efforts are not going unnoticed.
“They leave me little notes God bless you for just delivering the mail today,” said Budzik.
As she continues to show up, while others are trying to stay safe inside, Budzik has a message for all those homes she visits.
“Please leave me a note if you need anything, even your medication. I will pick it up for you. Don’t go out there, it’s very important you don’t go out. The front liners are showing up at their job, we have to show up at our job and do what you can to make a difference,” said Budzik.
Budzik said until this crisis passes she will continue to look out for everyone on her route because that’s how she was raised.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.