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!
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.
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.
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!!