During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s normal to feel scared and maybe even helpless. There’s no denying these are difficult times. But there are still ways to help one another, even on a small scale.
If you are healthy and wondering how to help out other people affected by COVID-19 in your community and beyond, here are 10 ways you can do just that.
If you have neighbors, call them, text them or check on them from a distance. If they are elderly, ask if they need help with groceries or walking pets. You could even swap a board game or two, as long as you sterilize it first and exchange it from a safe distance.
Find a way to volunteer. Online, there are organizations you can join to help reduce social isolation by making weekly calls to people. Local nonprofits also might need help answering emails or texts. You can even help people who are visually impaired complete tasks over video chat with the bemyeyes app. Idealist.org is a great place to find these types of volunteer opportunities near you. Also, many cities still need food bank and medical assistance volunteers
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Cut down on waste. Right now the food supply is stable, but cutting down on food waste is a great way to make sure it stays that way. Each year Americans waste 72 billion pounds of food. There’s no need to stockpile excessive food if you end up throwing it out.
Give blood. The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re healthy and able, consider scheduling an appointment. The Red Cross says it has increased safety protocols to keep donors safe, including increased disinfection of equipment and use of hand sanitizers, temperature checks before people enter the donation area and spacing of beds six feet apart. Remember, there's no evidence the coronavirus can spread by blood transfusion. If you're comfortable giving blood, you can make an appointment by clicking here.
If you have the means, donate money. The economic impacts of COVID-19 have threatened many local nonprofits, businesses and workers. CharityNavigator.org and CharityWatch.org are great resources to find a highly rated organization that does good work.
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Find and join a local mutual aid network. Some communities have Facebook pages, Nextdoor groups or Craigslist ads where people can connect with others in their community. Folks use these groups to share information like local closures or where to buy toilet paper. Find your local group and start making connections.
Remember the front line workers. Call your local fire house, police station, hospital or even truck stop and ask if they could use a coffee delivery or a couple of pizzas. Consider placing the delivery through a local business that could use the support.
Speaking of local businesses... find ways to support them. Lots of businesses, restaurants and bars are getting hit hard financially. Order takeout when you can, or buy gift cards from them to use in the future. Many establishments have also started fundraisers to help support staff members who have be laid off.
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Donate extra goods. Food banks and soup kitchens are also feeling the effects of the pandemic and may be struggling with a decrease in donations. You can help people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity by donating canned goods and non-perishables. And please make sure to donate any unused medical supplies you may have-- medical workers around the country are facing shortages of masks and gloves.
Take care of yourself, stay inside and stay healthy. And please be kind and patient with others...we are all in this together.