How can we care for each other from a distance? Packages are a means to give attention to the needs of others and share resources and have been critical in weathering past crises. Over recent decades, convenience rather than necessity has driven a steep rise in package deliveries. It is common to see packages, each containing one or two items, delivered daily. In the face of a rising pandemic, concern shifts toward dependencies on online orders for access to food, medicine, and other necessities. Future readiness will require resourcefulness to look around at the materials and tools at hand and ask what can we send, what do we need to receive, and how can these material exchanges hybridize our capacities to collectively brighten lives and adapt our approach to packaging and delivery?
With social distancing boxing people into apartments, houses, and other shelters, a package opens up access to materials would otherwise be out of reach. National governments are bidding on packages of PPE equipment in high demand. Boxes of masks, visors, gowns, and gloves are rushed and redirected to meet shortages. Packages are also a remaining means for families and friends to physically share between spaces of isolation and bridge spatial separation. The realities of moving these materials requires critical human labor, putting pressure on workers inside fulfillment centers and on delivery routes. Times of intense difficulty have called for companies to hire thousands of new workers that are needed to get packages to recipients. Caring for the continued wellbeing of the workers that carry out the movements of packages is essential.