As COVID-19 takes hold of the country, it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of this growing pandemic. Yet there are still many things we can do to support each other, especially those in need. Here are just a few ways you can help others that may also make you feel better in the process, too.
Those with essential jobs in healthcare fields, at grocery stores, with local law enforcement, and so aren’t able to stay home, yet many of us can and should. The best thing to do is follow federal, state, and local guidelines outlining what you can and cannot do. For my family and my region, that means only interacting with those in my house (my husband, 1.5-year old son, and mom). We are also under a “Shelter in place” state order and plan to only grocery shop once a week and go outside to exercise and get fresh air.
While this is hard for everyone, work-from-home parents and stir-crazy kids included, following these rules is the most beneficial thing you can do for everyone in the world, especially the immunocompromised and elderly.
Volunteer or donate to local food banks and charities feeding the elderly
Homebound seniors and food insecure families need our support more now than ever. Whether you donate your time to deliver food, drop off much needed non-perishables, or give money, your contributions can help others be well fed and safe during these uncertain times.
Looking to get involved? Check out Caring For Friends, a Philly nonprofit that has served over 16 million meals since 1974 to more than 14,000 homebound, isolated seniors, kids, and families in the Greater Philadelphia region. They are actively looking for volunteers and monetary donations. You can also donate to Meals on Wheels, helping seniors nationwide.
Support your local economy
Local businesses are the lifeforce driving our communities, making them unique, and employing our neighbors near and far. Whether it be your favorite restaurant or the small florist or hair salon, these establishments are more often than not hurting under the current climate. So what can you do?
Many local restaurants are still offering take-out options. If the budget allows, choose a night to get delivery and make it a special occasion for the family. (Don’t forget to tip!) You can also buy gift cards to many small businesses to use in the future to keep them afloat or contribute to (or start) a wait staff relief fund for a local restaurant.
Many local blood banks are dangerously low on supplies since people started hunkering down. The American Red Cross is asking healthy individuals to come out and donate blood if they are able to while reassuring them that safety protocols are in place. If you meet their safety qualifications outlined in the link, consider donating.
Reach out often to your loved ones
We must stay close emotionally while staying apart physically to keep spirits up. Luckily, technology makes it so easy to connect with family and friends all over the country. Keeping in touch will help everyone involved to relieve anxiety and keep sadness at bay. (Do reach out to those around you or via a crisis hotline, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal.)
Send texts or call often to check in, especially to those you know are alone. Facetime the grandparents and brighten their day by sharing the cabin-fever antics going on at your house. Set up a virtual happy hour or post-bedtime Zoom video conference with your friends. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call your coworkers instead of chatting online. We need to keep up human interaction because we are all in this together, and together we will make it through.