50 Actually Good Things That Have Happened in Philly During the Coronavirus Crisis

Everything was terrible — except when it wasn’t.

rittenhouse square flower bomb

Even amid the coronavirus, some Philadelphia good news did occur — such as when floral and event companies adorned Rittenhouse with flowers from cancelled events. Photo by Josh Schwartz

In times filled with an endless bad news cycle, some good things still happened. Here are 50 positive moments from the past couple of months.

1. Commonwealth Charter Academy gave its agriculture project — hydroponically grown lettuce — to a local food bank.

2. Superstar Lizzo donated lunch to HUP’s ER staff and posted a thank-you video online.


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3. Floral and event companies adorned Rittenhouse Square with flowers from canceled events.

4. Rainbows filled windows of Philly homes to serve as scavenger hunts for kids.

5. The OnePhilly Coronavirus Art Project had Philadelphians all over the city posting homemade artwork in their windows based on a weekly theme.

6. Event stylist Jace Florescio decorated Philly homes and businesses with balloon rainbows.

7. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his family donated $5 million to buy computers for students in the Philadelphia School District.

8. Jeff Yass, of Bala Cynwyd investment firm Susquehanna International Group, pledged $2.6 million to purchase Chromebooks for kids to continue school online.

9. After testing positive for COVID-19, singer Pink gave $500,000 to the Temple University Hospital Emergency Fund in honor of her mother, who used to work at the hospital as a nurse.

10. Couples got married in Independence Park, in empty churches, and in their parents’ living rooms and still said it was the best day of their lives.


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11. Rittenhouse neighbors entertained themselves with “stoop karaoke” while social-distancing.

12. Pet fostering applications poured in at Philly shelters.

13. Middle Child received more than $25,000 in contributions to continue paying staff and donating meals to local hospital workers.

14. Kalaya owner Chutatip Suntaranon turned her Thai restaurant into an industry soup kitchen, serving meals to unemployed restaurant workers and anyone else in need.


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15. Fast-casual chain Dig launched Dig Feeds, which gave one meal to Broad Street Ministries for every bowl purchased.

16. A group of volunteers started Sew Face Masks Philly to make masks for organizations and individuals in need. They’ve donated more than 13,000 masks so far.

17. GoPuff went from delivering beer and cheese puffs to bringing people the essentials they need — including toilet paper — and pledged to provide $1 million in free orders and deliveries to hospital workers.

18. Crime reports decreased as Philadelphians stayed home.

19. The Inquirer organized One Movie, One Philadelphia to get us all bonding over the same movies.

20. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie donated $1 million to coronavirus research at Penn Medicine.

21. Temple University erected a makeshift hospital in the Liacouras Center on North Broad Street to prepare for ER overflow.

22. Philly’s world-class biotech community worked to develop coronavirus vaccines, including efforts from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Integral Molecular and Chimeron Bio.

23. The Philadelphia Zoo premiered The Zoo at 2, a Facebook Live series to educate viewers about a different animal each weekday, including its adorable new sloth cub.

24. Philly fitness studios rented out stationary bikes and Pilates machines so clients could keep taking classes from home.

25. Local distilleries started making hand sanitizer — while keeping our bar carts stocked after the PLCB closed its stores.

26. Drexel University began 3-D-printing face shields for local hospitals.

27. Comcast provided two months of free internet to new low-income customers.

28. Fitness pros shared free workouts online for those who can’t currently afford to pay for classes.

29. Wayne-based Eastern Airlines flew rescue missions to bring home thousands of Americans stranded internationally.

30. Pat’s King of Steaks donated 1,000 cheesesteaks to Philly medical workers.

31. Meek Mill and Jay-Z provided more than 100,000 surgical masks to prisons affected by the pandemic.

32. Evil Genius Beer Co. released a pale ale called “Felt Cute, Might Feed My Husband To A Tiger Later IDK” to go with Tiger King binge-watching.

33. A furloughed Yards Brewing Co. Taproom tour manager decided to use his monthly beer stipend to deliver free cold beers to doorsteps around the city.

34. Joel Embiid pledged $500,000 to coronavirus medical relief and planned to help financially struggling Sixers employees.

35. The city rented out the Holiday Inn Express in Center City to serve as a place for people experiencing homelessness to quarantine.

36. After campus suddenly shuttered, Penn students circulated a Google spreadsheet to help connect off-campus students who had spare rooms with those in need of housing.

37. Philly graphic designer Ryan Mohl created a custom deck of cards for Philadelphians to play at home — and donated half the proceeds to First Responders First.

38. CVS stores gave $5 million-plus in seasonal treats to hospitals, food banks and senior centers, including Philly’s Ronald McDonald House.

39. American Dairy Association North East and Dairy Farmers of America provided more than 4,000 gallons of milk to Philly food pantries.

40. Jefferson nurses went viral for their dance to Ciara’s “Level Up.” The singer herself shared the video on Instagram.


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41. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra posted a video of “musical tag” featuring clips of musicians playing parts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 from home.

42. Though no one could visit in person, Holland Ridge Farms shared photos of its tulip fields and began shipping fresh-cut stems to the region.

43. Dolores Paolino, a.k.a. “Dolly Broadway,” entertained us as South Philly’s only four-foot-five, 86-year-old White-Claw-loving TikTok sensation.

44. A collection of artisanal food companies — including Weckerly’s Ice Cream and Triple Bottom Brewing — joined together in a customizable care-package service called Joy Box.

45. Bondfire Media’s Marie DiFeliciantonio gathered restaurant-relief-focused Venmo accounts, fund-raisers and gift-card drives into one website to make it easier to support Philly’s incredible restaurants.

46. Four med students launched PPE2PHL, collecting and distributing donations of thousands of gloves, masks and other PPE to Philly health-care workers.

47. Governor Tom Wolf agreed to release vulnerable and non-violent inmates at risk of contracting the coronavirus in prison.

48. NASA shared satellite images showing a noticeable drop in air pollution over Philadelphia.

49. The Free Library provided endless virtual experiences, from Instagram Live story readings to guided crafts to music lessons.

50. Mayor Jim Kenney penned the most inspirational message of his career, reminding Philadelphians that “the spirit of this great city has not, in any way, been diminished by this virus.”

Published as “And Now for Some Good News” in the May 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.