It’s hard to ignore the impact the Coronavirus has made on our society. As we continue to adjust to a new way of life without schools, widespread remote work, and nearly empty streets, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. Thankfully there are still ways we can all pitch in and be good neighbors while staying close to home. Here are some ways you can still show kindness and help your community during this uncertain time.
Social distancing will probably be the word of the year but there’s sound science behind it. By staying home as much as possible, you’ll be keeping everyone in your community safe, including your family. Follow the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations: if you’re not feeling well, stay home. Avoid group gatherings and keep your trips away from home for essential tasks, like getting groceries or supplies. If you do go out, keep a safe distance between you and strangers. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and don’t forget to wash your hands.
Support local businesses
Small businesses are being hit hard during this time. Thankfully there are ways we can still help our community businesses while staying at home. You can buy a gift card to your favorite local spots or order carryout or delivery from neighborhood restaurants. Some local shops are still opened online so that’s another way you can still support them from home.
Don’t stockpile essentials
Do everyone a favor and avoid the urge to hoard essentials like toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer, flour, eggs, and milk. Grocery stores are doing their best to keep items in stock but if everyone shopped as they did before the shelter in place orders were announced, there would still be enough for everyone. When you take more than you need, a fellow community member will go without. Experts recommend only buying enough supplies to last two weeks at a time.
Help each other
Check on your relatives and neighbors (especially those who are elderly or immunocompromised) to make sure they’re doing okay. Offer to run errands for them, like grocery shopping or picking up other supplies, leaving the items at the door for a contactless delivery. You can also volunteer to walk their pets or simply provide a cheerful, friendly visit, from a safe distance!
If you can do so safely, considering donating blood. Blood is often in short supply and tends to become even more scarce during health crises like this. The American Red Cross is experiencing another crunch after canceling blood drives due to coronavirus concerns. Healthy donors are encouraged to still donate. You can safely donate at local blood donation centers. Visit the American Red Cross’ Blood Services page or call 800-GIVE-BLOOD to find the closest center.
Make monetary contributions
Often times, vulnerable populations are at even more risk during national emergencies. If you’re able to make monetary contributions, there are several groups accepting contributions to help communities including the following:
- Meals on Wheels: provides meals and social needs for home-bound seniors.
- Center for Disaster Philanthropy: this nonprofit’s COVID-19 Response Fund is used to support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities for those affected and for crisis responders.
- Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation: a nonprofit to assist workers in the food and beverage community
- Direct Relief: donations will help deliver much-needed supplies like personal protective equipment and other medical essentials for health workers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and abroad.
You can also donate supplies or cash to your local food bank. Call ahead to see what supplies are needed. There are a lot of charity groups looking for donations and support during this time. You can use Charity Navigator for donation guidance.
Support the Arts
Many cultural institutions have closed to help curb the spread of the virus and need help to offset the losses from ticket sales. You can make a donation to your favorite museum or local arts organization. If you had tickets to an event that’s been canceled, consider donating the price of your ticket back to the institution instead of receiving a refund.
We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed during this stressful and uncertain time. The best way we can be good neighbors is to be nice to each other. Extend some kindness to those working on the front lines: healthcare workers, gas station attendants, grocery store workers, and more. They’re doing the best they can and are often stretched thin so a little bit of kindness will be appreciated and go a long way.
Our community is as strong as the people who live there. Being kind and helping each other is still under our control. These simple ways will help sustain your community during this unprecedented time. Together we can make a big impact.