While you’re stuck at home for the time being, you might be overwhelmed or maybe even just bored. Why not use this time to help others?
Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled a list of ways you can use this time to get out there, stay busy, and help your community.
1. Check In With Your Elderly Neighbors
There’s a good chance that your elderly or homebound neighbors may not have a lot of interaction with other people right now. Try to check in on them the old fashioned way, by knocking on their doors, saying hello, and asking if they need anything like picking up groceries or medication (while wearing a mask and gloves and staying six feet away, of course.)
If you prefer to check in on them digitally, you may want to join your local Facebook group—almost every city and town has one. You can also download an app like Nextdoor to start a dialogue with the people in your community and organize contact-less grocery drop-offs. Be sure to relay to your elderly neighbors that, if they’re able to leave their homes, many stores reserve the morning shopping hours specifically for them.
2. Support Local Businesses
Unfortunately, many service professionals have been deeply impacted by the current situation. Due to safety regulations, the people who normally make their living by providing services that require close contact with others can no longer do so. The professions affected include hairstylists, nail technicians, personal trainers, tattoo artists, massage therapists, and estheticians.
You can help support them by purchasing a gift card or package of their services in advance. Plus, that gives you an incentive to make sure your hair’s on point when things are up and running again. You can do this too for other small businesses, like specialty shops and neighborhood restaurants.
3. Support Food Banks
Reliance on public assistance programs, like food banks, has increased greatly in the past few weeks. That means that many food banks and soup kitchens are stretched very thin during this time and could use some extra help. If you have the means to do so, you can donate non-perishable food items, volunteer your time, or give a financial contribution to others in need. Feeding America is a tool that can help you locate your local soup kitchen and connect with other resources in your area.
4. Donate Blood
Social distancing has led to the cancellation of normally-scheduled American Red Cross blood drives. Therefore, the organization faces a massive blood shortage right now. If you’re able to donate, contact the Red Cross to give blood and, if you’re a recovering COVID-19 patient, plasma as well.
5. Volunteer Digitally
Volunteering your time in person might not be the safest option right now, but there are plenty of ways for you to reach out to people who need your help. You can volunteer to provide text support to individuals facing emotional crises using the Crisis Text Line. You can also donate your time to Be My Eyes, which is an app that allows sighted people to give visual assistance to the blind. Here is a list of nine more opportunities to volunteer online.
6. Make Masks
Grocery store employees, gas station attendants, delivery drivers, and postal workers are literally risking their lives every day to provide essential services so that we can shelter safely in place. This is why manufacturing companies like Ruggable are using their resources to make non-medical face masks to help keep them safe.
The good news? You too can use your fabric know-how and sewing machine skills to help! If you are able to, use these guidelines given by LA Protects to sew your own non-medical masks right at home.
7. Stay Home!
Even if you aren’t able to do any of the above, staying indoors and avoiding interaction with other people is the biggest thing you can do to prevent further spread of the virus. We all have cabin fever right now but this inconvenience can go a long way in protecting the most vulnerable of us. Hopefully, if we all keep up with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, we can enjoy the beautiful outdoor weather this summer. Fingers crossed.