This pandemic seems like a nightmare—like one day we’ll wake up and everything will return to normal. Although it is very real, one day we will wake up and things will be as close to normal as they can be. Amidst all of this, as the number of coronavirus cases across the U.S. and around the world continues to grow, people are impacted. New news, facts, and statistics come out every day, and although that may add to how overwhelming it is, it’s important to stay knowledgeable about what is true and what is hyperbole.
Fear is a reasonable reaction to all that’s happened in the past weeks. Panic and selfishness are not. In this time, it’s more important than ever for people to give to those in need. Part of that comes from social distancing, but there are more ways to give and support. Learn about how to help your community during the coronavirus outbreak below. You could be the light in the darkness for many.
Follow Local Restrictions for Self-Quarantine
Probably one of the most important things you can do to help your community during the pandemic is by simply listening and following the restrictions for self-quarantine and social distancing. You might have seen the video circulating with matches lit all in a row, and then the one match that “steps away,” therein stopping the spread of the flame. Social distancing is that same concept.
There’s a reason local and federal governments are temporarily closing businesses and urging people to stay at home. It’s because it will make a difference; it will flatten the curve. If we don’t stay home, then the outbreak will spread more quickly, the hospitals will reach capacity, and that will make it harder for everyone. So if you can, stay home. Wait to hang out with your friends until this is all figured out; it’ll be hard, but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Do What You Can to Support Local Businesses and Non-Profits
Now, because of restrictions on businesses and social gatherings, it’s more important than ever that you do what you can to support local businesses and non-profits. Lots of businesses have had to close, so lots of companies are losing their sole source of income. Restaurants around the world have opted to wait out this virus behind closed doors, whereas others have asked the community to support by ordering pick-up or delivery and then tipping the staff as much as possible. Ordering delivery or pick-up, purchasing gift cards, and tipping well can make a huge difference in these small restaurants and bars.
Similarly, this situation has also hit the arts world hard. Community theatres, high school productions, concerts, and so much more have had to cancel productions that they’ve worked months on perfecting. These organizations are encouraging people who have tickets to a canceled performance to donate further to the organization and not ask for a refund. Monetary donations will make a massive difference in local businesses and not-for-profits—you can do this online, or you can figure out other ways to support them.
Support Local Social Service Organizations
Another way you can support those in your community is by helping out the groups and organizations that are supporting those negatively impacted by the coronavirus. For example, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy recommends donating directly to free clinics in areas hit hard by the outbreak. You can also donate to local food banks, as those who were vulnerable before the outbreak will feel its effects the hardest and the longest. Remember that consistent donations and support are key, as the impacts of this outbreak will continue long into the future, even when it’s finished impacting you directly.
Donate What You Can
Monetary donations are a must, but there are other ways to donate as well. Like we mentioned above, you can donate canned goods and the like to local food pantries, but you can also donate in ways you typically wouldn’t. For example, since you’ll be spending that much more time at home, you can use this opportunity to declutter closets and other messy areas of the home. Compile those items, and schedule a future donation pick-up or drop-off. During this time, it’s important to clean the items well before donating, but understand how helpful this will be to those in need and those heavily impacted. GreenDrop has temporarily closed to help halt the spread of Covid-19 but is a great organization to donate your home goods and clothing once we are past Covid-19 and they re-open for business.
You can also donate blood! Thousands of blood drives across the country had to cancel because of the outbreak, and with more people needing aid from hospitals, we’re at the precipice of a severe blood shortage. If you can, make an appointment to donate blood through the Red Cross. They’re taking additional steps to keep donors safe—donate if you can.
Be Extra Generous
A lot of the above ways to help the community involve donating. This type of support is one of the best ways to show those in your community that you care, despite isolation. Though we all should be isolating, there’s nothing that says we can’t show social solidarity. Be extra generous in your donations, in your tips, and in your support for local businesses.
Be Kind in Thoughts, in Words, and in Action
Similarly, be kinder—kinder in your thoughts, in the words you share on social media, and in your actions when you head to the grocery store. This is a scary time for many people, and kindness is the way to make it easier on ourselves and our community. Do not spread fear; spread light. Help the elderly in the grocery store and spread kind words in your Facebook posts—this kindness all starts with kind thoughts. If you’re hard on yourself, that won’t make for genuine kindness spread. It’s one of the best things we can do to help out community during the outbreak.
As we mentioned, one of the best ways to support the community during this time is by donating. You can still schedule future donation pick-ups and plan future clothing donation drop-offs at Woodbridge, VA or one of our other locations. We’ll turn your future donation into a monetary donation for your chosen charity from our partners. The American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul all need your support so that they can support their communities. Donate when GreenDrop re-opens, and do what you can to add a little light to the world around you.