Since everyone has their own unique situation, some ways of helping can be difficult. If you lost your job, donating to a charity might be a challenge. If you’re sick, it can be a challenge to buy groceries for neighbors. However, every single person has the power to do something. Whether it’s picking up the phone to check on a loved one or putting on a mask when you’re outside, there is something you can do to make the world a better place during this difficult time.
Volunteers are the backbone of so many organizations, it’s hard to imagine a world without them. Unfortunately, today there are even more places than usual that are in need of volunteers, including charities and businesses. If you’re immunocompromised and think volunteering isn’t something you can do, think again. There are plenty of remote volunteer opportunities as well as traditional in-person ones. Here is one way you can find them.
2. Shop for People in Isolation
Both people who have contracted COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to the virus need to spend at least a week or 2 in isolation. For these people, the simple act of grocery shopping becomes a challenge. Yes, there are online grocery delivery options available, but not everyone likes these options. Elderly people and the visually impaired may really struggle with it. Shopping for people in isolation (or helping them order online) can be a great act of kindness that caters to our basic human need to eat.
3. Call Those Who May Be Lonely
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help during a pandemic is to make a phone call. Let’s be honest, our phones are in our hands most of the time, so taking a few minutes to make a phone call isn’t the biggest deal. But to the person you call, it can mean the world. Whether it’s a grandparent, another family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc., checking in on someone or calling just to say hello can make a huge difference.
4. Reach Out to Neighbors
This pandemic is an excellent time to overcome our issues and focus on the humanity of those around us. Reaching out to neighbors is one way to do this. Maybe they’re in isolation? Maybe they need groceries? Or just someone to talk to? Reaching out to help your neighbors can provide crucial assistance and build bridges of unity.
5. Donate to Charities
COVID-19 has not only claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, but it has also put a huge financial strain on many individuals and families. Donating to an organization that seeks to help on any front is a worthwhile (and fairly easy) way to help. Here you can find a list of charity apps that assist with medical services, relief supplies, education & awareness, and more.
6. Donate Blood
To date, there have been over 11.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. This means that blood donations have been on the decline for 2 reasons: Many who could have donated have become ill, and others are practicing social distancing and staying in. Unfortunately, the need for blood donations has not subsided, but is constant and ongoing, according to the American Red Cross. If you do go out, consider going to a blood donating station.
7. Wear A Mask
The CDC recommends wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While wearing a mask doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get it, it does offer “source control and personal protection.” In other words, it’s good for you and for the people around you. Wearing a mask can be extremely annoying and uncomfortable, but if you think of it as a good deed, it can make it more bearable.
8. Buy Local
With lockdowns and social distancing, small stores and eateries have taken a huge hit, especially those that relied heavily on foot traffic. With lockdown restrictions lifting somewhat in different parts of the country, consider shopping at local stores as opposed to global giants. If stores and restaurants in your neighborhood are still not open for walk-ins, see if they offer deliveries. There are also plenty of online produce delivery services that make a point of helping local stores and farms.
9. Practice Social Distancing
Being able to come and go as we please is something we’ll never take for granted once all the lockdowns and restrictions ease up. But for now, staying home and/or practicing social distancing when you do need to go out is the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you. The CDC recommends social distancing as a way of protecting yourself and minimizing the overall spread of the virus. The catch is, it only works if the majority of people in a community practice it. While you can’t control what other people do, you can certainly control what you do.
If you donated to a charitable organization, share that information on your social media accounts. If you volunteer, let people know. This isn’t a matter of tooting your own horn but rather of spreading awareness that there are so many different ways to help.
Everyone Wins When You Help Out
During times of crisis, it’s easy to just curl up into a ball and wait for it to pass. But that doesn’t help anyone. Actively seeking ways to volunteer, donate, and support those who are suffering due to the situation can make a positive difference in the world. Additionally, many studies show that giving back is ultimately good for the giver. Helping others can boost overall satisfaction, provide a sense of purpose, lower stress levels, improve heart health, and much more.
So when you feel overwhelmed or that everything is useless, remember that you can make a difference. And you can do it in a way that suits your lifestyle, personality, and financial circumstances. Whether it’s going out to actively volunteer, picking up the phone, or posting on social media, there are so many ways to help others. The key is to jump right in and start.