Social distancing and staying home as much as possible are incredibly important right now. By following these guidelines, you are doing your part to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If you’re looking for more ways to assist during these difficult times, here are some small acts that can help in a big way.
- Don’t hoard.
Your instincts may be telling you need 3 months’ worth of toilet paper and 20 boxes of pasta, especially when you see others with overflowing cards and panic on their paces. But the reality is that this is not necessary. By clearing the shelves to stockpile well beyond what you need for the week, you’re taking items away from those who need supplies now. Not everyone can afford to buy in bulk. In fact, about half of American workers already live paycheck to paycheck. The hoarding is also hurting food pantries and soup kitchens who feed the disadvantaged. When the supermarket is unable to keep up with the demands from consumers, they don’t have the excess items they’d normally donate.
- Order out.
Restaurants, especially the small mom and pop spots, are taking a hard hit. Now that customers can’t dine in, workers are being let go, and some places are closing their doors all together. If you can afford it, support your local food establishments by ordering take out or delivery once a week. Once you have your food, discard all packaging that came into contact with others. Just as helpful is to buy a gift certificate. Use them once they’re fully operating again, or gift them to someone else. A gift certificate serves as an interest free loan for the restaurant.
- Check on people.
Whether it’s your elderly neighbors or a friend you haven’t talk to in a while, human connection goes a long way right now. Some people are doing better than others, and the only way to know how someone is holding up is by asking them. Leave a note on your neighbors’ door with your phone number and some food. Schedule a weekly call with a friend. Offer to drop off groceries for that elderly neighbor.
Contributing to a local or national non-profit such as Feeding America or Meals on Wheels is a wonderful thing to do. But it’s not just money you can give. Healthy individuals can make an appointment to give blood to the American Red-Cross. Research local homeless shelters and other places in your area that are accepting items for donation. Many schools are looking for volunteers to put together and deliver lunches for school children.
- Spread cheer.
The world can benefit from little sparks of joy, especially now. People are taking more walks these days, so why not leave a symbol of hope for a passerby to see. A positive sign in your window or a stuffed animal on your front steps. Anything that could make someone smile. Dust off your holiday spirit and put up Christmas lights or other decorations. Another way to brighten someone’s day is to give thanks. Even a note on the door thanking the delivery person can go a long way.
As said by the U.S. Surgeon General, “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”
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