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Whether you’re currently under self-quarantine, are working from home, or are simply continuing to limit your contact with others, there’s a good chance that the coronavirus outbreak has left you isolated from many of those in your life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though life will fully return to normal any time soon. As we continue practicing social distancing, it is important to ensure that the most isolated and vulnerable members of our society are not left feeling abandoned and alone.
Are you looking to support others in your community during this difficult time? Though not all people will be able to help in all ways, many of us can contribute in one way or another. Consider the following ideas for supporting others during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Join a Community Support Group
Around the world, social organizations and charities are helping mobilize support forces to help those most affected by COVID-19. If you have no pre-existing conditions that put you at a particular risk, consider volunteering to help in the ways that you can. You may be able to go shopping or pick up medicine for those who are at high risk of infection. If you are self-isolating but can sew, you may be able to sew facemasks for those in your community. You might be able to walk dogs for individuals who are currently bedridden from the illness, or you might be able to aid in remotely organizing volunteer support and community projects. Whether you’re currently isolated at home or are able to get out into the physical world to support the cause, volunteer organizations likely have a job waiting for you.
Support Local Businesses
Even with loans, grants, and reduced interest rates, it is likely that many local businesses will not survive the weeks of full or partial closure mandated by the government as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Think local; consider purchasing gift cards and vouchers for local businesses. When these stores fully re-open, you can enjoy a shopping trip or a nice meal at your favorite restaurant or café. When shopping for food and essential toiletries, consider making purchases at local shops. Independently-owned bakers, butchers, and grocers need your business now more than ever before. Most large chain stores will likely survive this crisis without your support. If you have a little extra money to spare, consider supporting your favorite local businesses so that they can continue to be there for you in the months and years to come.
Work to Feed People in Need
Food banks and other organizations providing food to the hungry are in desperate need of resources and assistance. Those who often provide donations, such as grocery stores, may have less to donate as a result of panic shopping. Current supplies are dwindling due to increased demand, too. If you’re fortunate enough to have enough to eat yourself, consider making a financial donation or a donation of shelf-stable foods to a food bank in your area. If you’re willing and able to donate your time, consider signing up as a volunteer. Many organizations need help with distributing food, fundraising, and more. No one in our world should have to go hungry. Do your part by fighting hunger in your local community.
Reach Out to Others
Though everyone now recognizes many of the physical symptoms of coronavirus, we often tend to neglect the emotional and psychological consequences of self-isolation. Even those who have not been infected may feel lonely, anxious, frightened, and depressed at this time. Those who have lost someone to the illness may be left grieving alone.
Consider reaching out to others who may be lacking social support at this time. Contact friends and family members who live alone. Pick up the phone and call or send a thoughtful text message or email. Reconnect with those that you care about.
If you’re looking to do more, seek out others who are explicitly reaching out for help during this challenging time. Perhaps an organization in your community is helping individuals connect via penpal friendships or phone calls. If not, simply run a Google search to find those who need social support. The entire world is suffering from the effects of COVID-19. If you speak a second language, you may be able to support someone in a foreign country, too. Even from home, you can lend a listening ear to others. If you have the time to do so, consider connecting with someone who needs a friend.
Support Animals in Your Community
With so much human suffering at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be easy to forget that animals still need our support, too. Many shelters are currently struggling with a lack of donations and volunteers. In some areas, foster families are desperately needed for cats and dogs that have not yet found their “forever homes.”
If you’re a pet lover, consider finding a way to support your local animal shelter. If you have the time, patience, and resources, consider taking home a cat or dog to foster. If you are unable to foster a pet, consider contacting your local shelter to see what they need most. Perhaps you can volunteer to care for the animals once a week. Maybe donating dry food, wet food, or other supplies would be a great help at this time. Whatever you can offer, you can be sure that it will be appreciated.
Offer Up Your Skills & Knowledge
If your regular daily schedule has been interrupted by the pandemic, consider other ways in which you may be able to offer up your skills to those in need. Are you educated in a particular field? Make a video on a subject you’re knowledgeable about, and offer it up as a resource to educators who are currently teaching their students through e-learning portals. Is there a particular hobby that you’ve practiced for years? Maybe you can organize a digital club online, or post instructional videos for beginners. Though you might not be a master in your field, don’t be shy about sharing your knowledge and experience. You might just spark someone’s interest in a new field!
Each of us can only do so much to support others. Even if you cannot help someone personally, you may be able to refer them to other groups or organizations that can offer resources and support. Sometimes, the best way to reduce our own feelings of despair and loneliness is through helping others. By joining together in solidarity at this trying time, we can strengthen our bond with others in our community and around the world.
Photo by Gerd Altmann / Pixabay