40 Things You Can Do to Help & Spark Joy for Others

Happy Friday, friends, and cheers to the weekend. While those words don’t have the same ring and excitement as they usually do, something in me wanted to keep my usual Friday greeting. I want to somehow distinguish between the last five days and the next two!

It’s been non-stop news overload, and honestly, my heart is heavy and my mind is spinning with the constant updates. I think I spent the last week trying to be ‘business as usual,’ that I haven’t truly allowed myself the space to comprehend that there is nothing usual about this.

The impact varies, but the truth is there’s not a single one of us whom this isn’t hurting in some way. Loss of revenue, job, education, security, joy, peace… the list goes on. But that also means we’re all in this together.

And while it’s easy to feel powerless in such an unknown situation, I’ve always found that getting outside myself and helping others is the greatest help for me. So in this time of anxiety and social distancing, looking out for one another could also be the greatest gift to ourselves!

 

hi sugarplum help others

How to help make a positive impact, while staying home:

Donate money to organizations helping the hungry or sick

National emergencies put the most vulnerable populations at even greater risk. The homeless, elderly, and hungry will need even more aid than before, so a good place to start is with charities that help.

Meals on Wheels will safely deliver food to American senior citizens, who will be unable to leave their homes for a while, as they are at greater risk for the coronavirus. The charity will make sure the elderly are not left to fend for themselves in the midst of this crisis.

Save the Children, a global children’s aid charity, started a Coronavirus Response Fund because, while children are at a lower risk for contracting the virus, their families are not. Additionally, the charity will provide training and equipment for healthcare teams and protect children, should their families be subject to quarantine.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy also has a COVID-19 Response Fund, which will focus on supporting local nonprofits in highly affected areas. The nonprofits focus on a range of coronavirus aid efforts, from supporting healthcare workers to implementing prevention strategies.

The International Medical Corps is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services in over thirty countries for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, consider donating to your local food bank. We contributed to both the North Texas Food Bank and Minnie’s Food Pantry, who has partnered with our local school district to help families reliant on school lunches.

 

Buy From Small Businesses

Buy gift cards to your favorite local restaurants, stores, from your hair stylist and local spa. The business will get the money today, but you can use it later. Pay in cash, if possible, to avoid further lag time.

Additionally, as restaurants are forced to close to in-house dining, help to mitigate loss by utilizing food delivery services like Uber Eats and Door Dash to keep them operating. And if you have cancelled personal appointments like hair, nails and brows, consider tipping (or even paying if possible!) your provider via Venmo.

 

Utilize Tele-Conference for Certain Service Providers

As long as the service doesn’t require touch, most providers can still offer services via tele-conferencing. Therapy, voice lessons, tutoring, trainers, and more. Mr. SP is a therapist, and is keeping his business running by seeing patients via video chats.

Our wellbeing and mental health is more important than ever, and you’ll be helping your provider, too.

 

Donate Blood

The Red Cross is concerned that coronavirus will threaten America’s blood supply. As more people contract the virus, fewer people will be eligible to donate blood. The organization asks healthy people to donate blood despite the pandemic, and emphasizes that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be contracted through blood.

 

Donate Medical Supplies

There is a huge shortage of supplies and protective gear at hospitals, and many are forced to re-wear day-after-day. That puts them and patients at even greater risk.

If you have access to N95 masks and gloves (construction companies, contractors, furniture refinishers, etc), donate them to your local ER (the fire department might be the best drop-off location). 

 

Help People In Your Neighborhood

Call or text older or at-risk neighbors and relatives to check in. Since individuals over age 60 are considered high-risk, it’s recommended that they practice even more stringent social-distancing, but you can chat with them on the phone or by FaceTime.

You could also offer to pick up groceries or run errands, as those activities can pose an even greater threat. If you’re concerned about any contact with these older individuals, drop off packages at their doorsteps and call or text after you leave. And never underestimate the power of a kind gesture like unexpected flowers! We dropped tulips off for our neighbors this week, and it made my heart so happy, and hopefully brightened their day.

 

Don’t Hoard or Stockpile Essentials

With so many pictures of empty grocery store shelves being shared on social media, it can be tempting to stock up on essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But hoarding these items just means that you’re leaving fellow community members to go without. Start thinking in terms of your community and not just your household.

 

Support the Arts

Art institutions, artists, and musicians will take an immediate and profound hit with closures. Everything from Broadway shows to local pub bookings are cancelled, leaving the artists unemployed.

Consider a donation to your favorite museum or local arts organization to help sustain their income as they can no longer rely on ticket sales. If an event you were scheduled to attend is canceled and you receive a refund, consider donating the price of your ticket back to the institution.

Many singers and bands have had their shows cancelled or postponed. Help mitigate their losses by buying some of their merchandise online. If you’d like to support a local artist, consider buying a piece of their work.

Finally, when these places start to open again, buy tickets! You’ll need to make up for lost time.

 

Stay In Touch from Afar

Social distancing or quarantining is isolating, even when you’re with your family! And isolation can lead to depression. Reach out to friends and family members often… FaceTime is especially good for feeling connected.

 

Be Responsible

Listen to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations to help prevent spread. Even if you’re not in a high-risk group, it’s our communal responsibility to keep vulnerable individuals from contracting the virus. Practice social-distancing. Stay home if you’re sick. Wash your hands often and clean off surfaces. Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough.

Staying home helps everyone and staying safe and healthy is a community effort.

 

Be Kind to Your Community

As news around the virus continues to unfold, understand everyone will react and respond differently. Offer kindness and grace, don’t judge, and remember this is completely unprecedented and we’re all doing our best.

 

I also asked y’all for more ideas on Instagram Stories and you really delivered! Here are the awesome ways y’all are helping in your communities…

  • Buy the really good chocolate at the checkout line, then give it to the cashier! (Some of you do this with gift cards, too!)
  • Order takeout, and give the driver a hefty tip!
  • Make meals for older family members and drop them on the porch.
  • Write letters to friends and family… a great way for kids to practice handwriting and letter-writing, too!
  • Smile at everyone you see!
  • Assemble activity packets for local seniors.
  • Run errands for the elderly and moms with small children.
  • Send gift cards or flowers to healthcare workers.
  • Leave gift cards or sealed treats for your mail carrier, delivery drivers, etc.
  • Send cards and kid’s drawings to nursing homes.
  • Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line (one of you does this at the grocery store!).
  • Pitch in as a neighborhood and cater lunch to your nearby grocery store/hospital.
  • Leave chalk messages on friends’ and neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways.
  • Sew face masks for health care workers.
  • Paint ‘happy rocks’ and hide them around the neighborhood for ‘discovering.’
  • Make encouraging signs for your yard or window.
  • Have food delivered to others… helps restaurants and them!
  • Hang shamrocks in your window for kids to ‘hunt’ during walks.
  • Check with neighbors before going to the grocery store to cut down on the number of people going.
  • Give your housekeeper/nanny time off with pay.
  • Hang Christmas lights and decor on your house to cheer up walking neighbors.
  • Send encouraging emails to friends and family.
  • Order from local restaurants and boutiques.
  • Drop flowers, puzzles, activity books on a neighbor’s porch.
  • Donate to local diaper banks.
  • Help distribute food to school families.

 

Finally, help by asking! Ask those around you how you can help them! If you can maintain your normal salary while working from home, can you help someone who can’t? Are there people who provide you with services who you can support in the interim (babysitters, house cleaners, beauty workers, exercise teachers)?

Keep tabs on those close to you and look out for one another. And remember, lovebugs, we can do this together!!

 

Leave a Comment

28 Comments

  1. Sevahn wrote:

    You are the kindest and most generous person I know! Award-winning post🏆🥇 An example of what a loving human being is. Cheerful giver. Xoxo

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh my word, Sevahn! Thank you! I’m just using my platform in the best way I know how! Let me know if you have other ideas!! xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  2. Sandy wrote:

    Beautiful post, SP. No hoarding here, but I did give packs of toilet paper to my plumber and the post office clerk =big laughs and smiles. And food pantries everywhere will need our help.
    As the Italians said, never underestimate this virus. Safety first. Stay well, all! : )

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I dropped a few rolls of TP at my neighbor who has 3 teenage boys and only 2 rolls left…along with a note that said, ‘When S*@t hits the fan’ 😉 xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
      • Sandy wrote:

        ha,ha,ha! I hoarded tp way before this frenzy. Everyone agrees, three sheets people!
        We take so much for granted.

        Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  3. Sandy wrote:

    Ps!- Remember all restaurants are doing curb-side service!!

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  4. Hope wrote:

    This post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for being a light in times of uncertainty and for reminding us all that humanity isn’t cancelled and that we are all still connected through love for one another, strangers or not. You are being the hands and feet (from a safe social distance, of course) of Jesus and are a true blessing to so many.

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Okay, now I have tears in MY eyes! Thank you, Hope! Much love to you and your family! xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  5. Karla wrote:

    Absolutely the BEST post!!! Thank you Cassie. ♥️♥️♥️

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yay, thrilled you like it! xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  6. Kristin wrote:

    This is a really excellent list. Lots of easily doable ideas that will make an impact. Thank you for taking the time to pull this together so thoughtfully!

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      So happy to hear you liked it, Kristin! I love that so many are things that don’t cost a penny, and keep us occupied! xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  7. MelanieL wrote:

    So many great ideas, thank you!

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thank you, Melanie! I hope you were inspired! xo. C

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  8. Deborah Penner wrote:

    Thank you for these helpful suggestions. I love the idea of placing Christmas lights out (in the spring) to cheer the day of passersby. We live about 60 miles from Wichita, KS. There is a neighborhood there that is known for their decorations at Halloween and Christmas. They are putting them up to bring good cheer.

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  9. Patti wrote:

    Your heart just shines through your words and encourages us all to look beyond ourselves
    Thank you

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  10. Joanna wrote:

    The best thing we can do to stop the pandemic is to STAY HOME! Yes, we need to go to the grocery store or pharmacy but people shouldn’t be shopping for pleasure, getting their hair done, manicures, etc. I hear of people still going about their daily lives like nothing has changed.
    I know being home is boring. Go for walks in the fresh air, work in your garden, clean & organize your house, paint a room and switch out your closet from winter to spring. Tackle all those projects/crafts/DIYs you haven’t had time to get to. FaceTime your loved ones. That will put a smile on your face. Be kind!
    Thank you for all the great ideas, Cassie. We need to help our neighbours and community.

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  11. MJ wrote:

    My husband and I are going to pick up an older dog from a rescue tonight and bring him home for a quarantine foster! The shelters are out of room in DFW, so we stepped up so they would not have euthanize due to space issues. We just lost our first dog a few weeks ago, so this is very hard for us, but also very healing. I needed a purpose to get thru the loss of my dog & I feel like this is the best way we can honor our rescue dog we loved & lost ❤️

    Thank you for reminding others to be the good AND see the good 🥰

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh that is beautiful! Dogs are family, I am so sorry for your loss. I know your sweet foster dog will appreciate your love and affection! xo, Cassie

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
      • MJ wrote:

        Today a sweet family was approved for Conway’s (foster dog) forever home! All it took was 1 week of showing this cutie off on IG! My heart is so full, there are just no words!❤️❤️❤️

        Posted 3.27.20 Reply
    • Lynda wrote:

      Wonderful💗💗This brought tears to my eyes, God Bless You 🤗

      Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  12. Karen wrote:

    Thanks for these suggestions! Great ideas!

    Posted 3.20.20 Reply
  13. Jody wrote:

    This is great. There were things I had not thought to do on your list! Thank you.
    As a nurse I would like you to remove the item make masks for health care workers. I know this is making the rounds on the internet but they will not protect against the corona virus. They are detrimental and will only end up in the trash never being worn. I and my fellow nurses love that you want to help us stay safe and the best way to keep us all safe is to stay at home😊

    Posted 3.21.20 Reply
    • patti wrote:

      thank you so much for saying this. my husband is an ER doc in Indiana (not hit as hard here as some) and even here he is already forced to now reuse N-95 masks which is truthful but so sad. Homemade masks are no better. please phone your federal representatives to help with this. first responders in the USA at the very least should have equipment that keeps us all safe.

      Posted 3.22.20 Reply
  14. Rachel wrote:

    Thank-you for all the ideas, Cassie. I love reading your posts and have been following you for several years now. I am encouraged by your positivity at all times.

    However, I urge people NOT to make neighbours or friends meals. A home cooked meal would be a perfect harbinger for transmitting the virus from one household to another. COVID-19 is absolutely contagious BEFORE symptoms develop (possibly several days before) and is also transmitted just through breathing (let alone droplets from coughing and sneezing). Anyone who receives food or items from a friend or neighbour must sanitize said items properly. 60 percent alcohol on an item for 3 minutes minimum to kill the virus. Please everyone, do your research, practice social distancing and like Joanna said, only go to the grocery store/pharmacy when absolutely necessary. Give everyone a 6 foot berth when delivering anything to their doorstep. Lets take this immensely serious. At the rate this disease is growing in the United States, it will most certainly surpass China and Italy in numbers if we don’t get on top of this.

    Thanks again for your ideas. Lets be the community we know we can be and help others…as best as we can from a distance.

    Posted 3.21.20 Reply
  15. Colleen wrote:

    Remember to thank a truck driver. If it wasn’t for his delivery you wouldn’t have TP. The drivers can’t get to restaurants where they can park and some will not allow walk ups in the drive thru lane. Offer to order their food and you drive thru the line for them. And give them a roll of TP

    Posted 3.21.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thanks a great idea, thank you!

      Posted 3.21.20 Reply
  16. Mary King wrote:

    Cassie, I have been catching up on my favorite blogs. I have spent the last month preparing for a move out of state and a job transfer only to have my house sale postponed and lost the transfer. So much uncertainty for all including this high risk individual. I wrote a comment months ago about your family trip to Taos. It reminded me of a trip my mother, daughter and I took years ago before my mother passed. You were very sweet in your response to me. Your quote from Maya Angelou brought a smile to my face. She was a favorite of my mom’s. In a time of not knowing if I will have a job, a home to move too or how our world we be in six months I count my blessings for two healthy adult children, supportive friends and family, and a place to live safely for now. Above all else a God who is always there! Thank you for continuing to brighten the days of all of us. Stay safe and blessings to you and your family.

    Posted 4.2.20 Reply