Helping the Community
As Covid-19 continues its spread, the outpouring of care, support, and direct aid coming from all corners of the world is both beautiful and revealing. It tells us a lot about who we are as humans: When crisis hits, we reach out, offering hope in the form of service, donations, and lots of TLC. Yet, as the virus destabilizes people’s lives and our global economy, we can feel helpless, not sure how to move forward effectively. If you're struggling to figure out how to help out, take these 10 ideas as a blueprint for community action. They all promote safety, are simple to implement, and help fortify our collective spirit.
Follow CDC Advice and Your Local Government’s Regulations
Keep informed and follow the updated guidelines issued by the CDC. Also, check in with your local news stations, which provide up-to-the-minute coverage of confirmed Covid cases as well as the local government response. The best preventive tips are simple (and by now, extremely familiar): Stay away from people as much as possible. Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after contact with public surfaces. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. And avoid touching your face.
Shelter in Place If You Can and Support Those Who Can't
One of the most important things you can do is stay home. The reason for this imperative is twofold: You reduce your own risk of contagion, and you keep others safe by decreasing the likelihood that you will spread the disease. (With Covid-19, you can be a carrier of the virus without displaying any symptoms.) That said, not everyone has the possibility of sheltering in place. Homeless populations and low-income individuals are especially vulnerable in times like these, so one great way to help is to contact your local homeless shelters to see what products they need and how to donate.
Donate N95 Masks and Other Urgently Needed Supplies
An N95 mask is a particulate respirator that filters out at least 95 percent of airborne particles. It is the gold standard for the medical profession, and we are sadly lacking in supplies. So, if you have N95 masks, please donate! For 100+ masks, try contacting your state’s department of health first. You can also call your local hospital or give sealed masks to a health professional you know. Even a single mask passed along to an ER worker can save lives.
Put Your DIY Powers to Good Use
Be a DIY hero! Use your sewing machine and doctor-approved DIY instructions to make cloth masks for health care providers as well as friends and neighbors who are elderly or immune-compromised. Look for Facebook groups like Relief Crafters of America and Sew the Curve Flat, which are trying to manage the flow of requests and donations.
Create and Inspire During Quarantine
Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to stay home without incurring financial burdens, but if you're one of the fortunate ones, look at quarantine as a gift of time. Carve out at least an hour a day to exercise your creativity, whether by painting, writing, cooking, or making videos to share. Even poems about the pandemic are going viral, signaling a need to feed our spirits and keep joyful.
Give to Charities Serving At-Risk Communities and Those on the Front Lines
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by others' needs at times like this, so focus on one or two organizations whose mission you can rally behind. Virtual tip jars are popping up all over the States, as service workers are some of the hardest hit by government-mandated store and restaurant closures. Also consider giving to medical care providers and others on the Covid-19 front lines. Charity Navigator is a helpful tool for matching your hard-earned dollars with some worthy causes.
Spend Real Time with Your Kids
Kids are community members too. As schools shut down, online resources are becoming increasingly popular for both homeschooling and having fun. And that’s great, but be sure to unplug from the computer and connect in real time too. During this unsettled and unsettling period, adults may feel anxious, and kids may be soaking up those negative emotions unawares. Listen to your child, speak openly about the virus, provide comfort, and offer practical ways to cope.
Strengthen Your Immunity and Our Collective Vision
While Covid-19 can strike any of us, we have a better chance of weathering the pandemic and bouncing back from an infection if we have a strong immune system. Your diet, your exercise regimen, and your state of mind are critical to your continued health—and our communal well-being. So, choose fresh fruits and veggies as much as possible, stay active by doing chores and exercises around the house, and practice deep breathing and meditation. For a little inspiration, heed the insights of our indigenous communities, who see in times of crisis the seeds of a new beginning.
Google “How to Help Community Right Now”
Take a cue from stories of hope and kindness to do good in your own community. For instance, one woman trained her dog to deliver groceries. How will you make a difference? Start by using the internet as a tool for social action. Simply google “how to help community right now,” and thousands of articles will pop up, many of them specific to different cities and regions across the United States. Find out what your city is doing and how you can help locally.
Lending a Hand
Whether it's big or little, acts of kindness goes a long way.
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