One of the most FAQ I’m receiving right now from people is, “How can I help?” Honestly, I love that people are rallying together to try and make an impact in their local communities. If anything, this virus has brought people closer together in relationship despite distancing ourselves in proximity. But here are a couple of tangible ways I believe you can help during this pandemic..
Stay at Home
Yep, I said it. I went there. It truly is one of the best ways YOU can help during this pandemic, because it’s been proven effective. How? Because it creates less opportunities for interactions and interactions increase the spread. An article put out by the Washington Post explains it in layman’s terms so even a dummie like me can understand the impact. Many states do not have “shelter in place” orders, but that doesn’t mean we should continue congregating and traveling however we please. Change isn’t going to happen unless we hunker down and stay at home.
What “No Precautions” looks like for a community of 200 people
…versus the effects of “Social Distancing”
Shop for your neighbor
First of all, limit your grocery store shopping as much as possible. Try to go once a week if possible. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers going every other day to the store and it irritates me that they think that’s 1. Necessary and 2. Responsible. But if you are already there and exposing yourself to the elements, you might as well be helping a friend or neighbor in the process. Maybe your neighbor is homebound because of a disability, age, or family obligations. Many families are transitioning to being full-time parents who now homeschool. It’s a burden they didn’t expect to take on, so eliminating their need to go to the grocery store and pick up that extra bunch of bananas could be huge. This is not the time to stockpile and greedily take what we don’t NEED, this is an opportunity for us to live within our means.
Most restaurants and bars have switched to curbside and takeout only. And many of them are utilizing companies like DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats to get their food in the hands of customers faster. Be intentional to buy from local businesses when possible, they need your business now more than ever. And if you want to go above and beyond, order takeout for first responders! Have it delivered to your local fire station, police station, or hospital. Many people have showed concerns over the risk involved with ordering takeout during this pandemic. But I think a good rule of thumb is to support businesses you trusted before this virus. Experts don’t believe that it can be transmitted by food consumption at this time.
Buy a giftcard from your local salon
These small businesses (hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, and massage therapists) are being hit hard. Why? Because unlike local restaurants and bars, these businesses don’t have the option to switch to take-out or curbside service. Unfortunately, they go from having an income to having no income and having to pay rent on a space that isn’t bringing in an income. By buying a giftcard, you are saying “thank you” for your past services and supporting them in this time of uncertainty.
Like most of us, teachers are also having to adapt to this brave new world. Their classroom environments have been forced to become virtual. My sister is a high school English teacher and many of her needs revolve around the needs of her students. She checks in on them and is attentive to ensure they are doing okay mentally and physically. The best way we can support our teachers/educators is to reach out to them and ask what they need personally. Whether it’s a word of encouragement, a bouquet of flowers, a trip to the grocery store, or a homemade meal, any small gesture could mean the world. Teachers and educators had the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year planned and are grieving the loss of what was and coming to terms with what is. Show your support by communicating with them and letting them know how much you appreciate all they do.
Donate to your local church
Churches are an extension of the community, and many of them are in dire need of our support. With no Sunday services, their usual weekly/monthly offerings aren’t happening. Church leaders and pastors are being forced to think of creative ways to raise awareness and funds. NOW is the time to give generously. Whether it’s $5 or $500, every donation helps to support the missions of your local church and to pay for their staffing. My dad is an Anglican pastor so this call-to-action is particularly personal. Without the generosity of God’s children, a church can’t function or flourish. Our little “c” church looks a lot different now, but that doesn’t mean that the body of Christ, the big “C” church, isn’t alive and growing. Nurture your local church by donating today.
Start a GoFundMe for your local first responders
I’ve seen a couple of cities create GoFundMe’s and online fundraisers to raise money for first responders in their area. These would include, but are not limited to, paramedics, emergency medical professionals, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, military personnel, and those serving in public works. These are the people sacrificing and risking their own health to be on the front lines of this battle. Many regions of the country are preparing for a surge in COVID patients, so it’s hard to know their needs before the storm has actually hit. So by creating and raising the funds now, we can ensure that our first responders’ needs will be met in the time of crisis. I would encourage you if you feel led to create movements within your local community to start these now, because they could lead to huge financial burdens being lifted on the other side of this. In Birmingham, they created a Venmo account called “Frontline Heroes” supporting local responders. Why not be the first to create one for your own local community?!?
Donate to the CDC
If you want to create change, you have to support the researchers who are equipped to make change. Right now, the CDC and many other national labs are working tirelessly to create vaccines and a better understanding of this complex virus.
Wash Your Hands
It may sound easy, but sometimes you gotta crawl before you can walk. Once we get the basics down like maintaining proper hand hygiene, hopefully we can contain this virus and get our routines back. I know you want normalcy back just as much as the next person, so let’s do all what we can in our power to make an impact. Below are two songs (“All Star” and “No Scrubs”) that you can sing to make the 20 seconds fly by.
Support the Hungry
Donate to your local food bank. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a few extra items to give. This is not the time to hoard your “necessities,” this is the time to give selflessly and to think outside of ourselves. Go to Feeding America’s website to find your nearest local food bank and contact them to find out their current needs.
America has a critical shortage of blood right now and needs our help to replenish their stock. The American Red Cross and many other organizations have had to stop hosting blood drives which leads to less and less volunteers and donors. Make an appointment with the American Red Cross today and save a life.