It’s easy to feel helpless right now. You’re told to stay home and just wait it out. So you’re stuck feeling isolated and angsty, knowing there’s nothing you can personally do to stop this crisis besides sitting by yourself home alone. Well, there’s some good news. There are more tangible ways you can help your community right now. Check out the suggestions below and offer your own in the comments!
1. Help out local restaurants/businesses
Many restaurants have started deals to help support their business during this time. If you’re able to, order takeout or delivery. A lot of restaurants have adopted “contactless delivery,” meaning they’ll just leave the sealed package of food on your doorstep and notify you when it’s there. Additionally, companies like Uber Eats are offering free delivery during this time. Also, if you can afford it, buy some gift cards from your favorite local business to use in the future. It will help them stay afloat during the next few months.
2. Give what you can
If you’re completely stocked up on toilet paper/paper towels (still don’t understand why that’s the craze right now) or canned goods, offer a few to a neighbor who you know doesn’t have as much or donate some to a local food bank.
3. Check up on those who have less access that you do
If you know your neighbor is elderly, is immunocompromised, has a rare disease, or some other condition, see what you can do to help. Maybe you can pick up groceries (or order them delivery), help keep them company over FaceTime, or drop off the prescriptions they need. Make sure they know they have someone to call if they need anything.
4. Support those who are unable to work during this time
Many servers, bartenders, and others have had their jobs impacted during this time. If you are financially able, find ways to support them. Maybe you need yard work done, a babysitter, a caregiver, or a dog groomer. Ask your neighbors who have been affected what their skillset is and find ways to support them through this time.
5. Pledge your support for when its over
If you’re not financially able to donate or be a patron right now, pledge that when this is over you will support those who need it. You will go out to eat, buy a gift card, etc. Reassure your local family business that you will be there.
Take this time to help the broader community. For instance, picking up litter on the side of the road is a low risk activity that you can do while practicing social distancing.
7. Think about your personal skillset and the unique services you can offer
Maybe you’re a teacher- I’m sure some parents in your neighborhood would be grateful for a tutor right now. Maybe you’re a chef- make your elderly neighbor a home cooked meal tonight. Maybe you’re a landscaper- offer your services to your neighbor with limited mobility. Think about what unique contributions you can provide to your local community.
8. Donate blood
Many blood banks are running low on blood and plasma right now. If you are able, consider donating.
9. Help your community members who work in the healthcare field, are first responders, who work in law enforcement, or others who can’t stay home
Maybe you can provide babysitting for those who still have to go into work but who’s children are home due to school closures. Maybe you can offer to cook them a few meals. Ask them how you can support them during this time.
10. Talk to others
It’s the simplest suggestion but maybe the most important. Stay in contact with those in your community to remind yourself and others that you’re not alone during this time. Everyone is going through this same thing, all across the world. Make a phone call, start an email chain, create a Facebook group, utilize WhatsApp. Find ways to stay connected, spread encouraging messages, and try to maintain a sense of normalcy among your friends and loved ones. This too shall pass.