It’s easy to feel a loss of control over your life and freedoms during these months in quarantine. Many U.S. cities are under social distancing, curfew, or shelter-in-place rules that require people to spend more time at home to minimize COVID-19’s spread.
Even at home or six feet away, there are many ways you can bring some happiness and light to your community. With donations of time, money, and a listening ear, you can encourage your neighbors and offer a bit of stress relief to those who need it most.
Despite this uncertainty, we’re happy to say that we’ve found some positivity — and it starts with you! In this blog, we’ve explored ways you can share light with those around you.
1. Provide meals to school children
When schools had to close their doors, many low-income families lost access to the critical free meals provided by the education system. Some school systems are continuing to offer meals to students, but parents are still struggling to feed their families amid lost jobs and reduced wages.
Thankfully, many nonprofits, businesses, and citizens are stepping up to fill in the gaps. You can help feed local school-age children by donating to your local food pantries or organizations dedicated to providing food to people who need it. You will be making a lasting impact on adults and children who need it most.
2. Give blood
Experts believe that social distancing is helping stop the spread of COVID-19, but it’s also had a drastic effect on blood drives. Thousands of blood drives around the country have been canceled, lowering the available blood supply. Blood transfusions are essential for medical needs such as surgeries, organ transplants, trauma treatments, and more.
Blood centers are taking extra precautions now to protect both donors and patients from the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, donating blood is considered by many shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders to be an essential service, so you can go donate even while the order is in place.
3. Support local businesses
Small businesses and their employees have been hit hard in the current economy. Social distancing orders have limited retail traffic and caused many to shut their doors for the time being.
Although you may not be able to frequent your favorite local business, you can still support many of them! Start by checking to see if they are still selling products and services online or doing curbside business. Many small businesses are also offering special discounts during this time. Another option is to buy a gift card, which gives the business cash now for an item you buy in the future.
4. Tip servers and food service workers
Tips make up a significant portion of a server’s income. Now that dine-in numbers are down, your tips are more valuable than ever. Whether you’re picking up a meal, getting a coffee, or ordering delivery, remember to give a little extra to your servers when you can.
5. Host or contribute to a neighborhood supply drive
Even if you have everything you need, your neighbors or others in your community may still be looking for food and goods such as paper towels, toilet paper, and other essentials.
A neighborhood supply drive allows you to share what you have with those in need. You can create a donation station for donors to leave supplies and open it up to neighbors who need a few items. You can also create a digital network online or through social media, connecting those who have extra with those who don’t have enough.
6. Run a virtual fundraiser
Fundraisers are a great way to bring people together to support an important cause. Though you can’t hold an in-person fundraising event, you can still gather donations for causes that matter through online fundraisers! Get started online with a virtual fundraising platform such as classy.org or GoFundMe.
Some ways to raise money include asking for donations instead of birthday or graduation gifts, selling handmade items, or setting up a GoFundMe Charity page. This is a great time to learn about and share important causes, so help contribute to an organization you’re passionate about!
7. Offer free resources
With most people stuck at home for several more weeks, there is a great need for online resources that can help relieve boredom and promote self-education. If your work or hobbies may be of interest to others, this is a great opportunity to share what you know!
If you are into fitness, consider making at-home workout videos, such as ab exercises or yoga for kids. You can also offer teaching resources for teachers, crafting patterns, and funny videos to help pass the time.
8. Volunteer or support organizations like Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement USA is an organization dedicated to helping children prepare for success in their future endeavors and careers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, JA is offering online resources to teachers and students involved in online distance learning. You can help by becoming a virtual volunteer and sharing an inspiring video message with JA’s audience, or by donating a monetary gift.
Head to the Junior Achievement website to learn more.
9. Encourage or donate to healthcare workers
As more people fall sick with COVID-19, few are working harder than the nation’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. If you know someone who works in healthcare, encourage them with a sweet note or message.
Many communities are also organizing virtual fundraisers and events to show support to healthcare workers. Check social media and local news boards to see how you can join these efforts.
10. Spread positivity
Sometimes spontaneous support is the best gift you can give. Write chalk messages on sidewalks to bring smiles to your neighbors. Make a meal for someone getting home from the hospital.
Pay attention to opportunities to help someone else. After all, someone may be doing the same for you.
11. Take care of yourself
You can’t help others if you are sick. Practice social distancing and proper handwashing to keep yourself healthy and safe. Communities are always stronger together, so use this time to create strong relationships…from a distance.