With the spread of COVID-19, many of us are taking steps recommended by health officials to keep ourselves and our communities safe. We all know the drill by now — wash your hands and wash them often. Don’t touch your face. Practice social distancing. Only go out for the essentials. While many of us are following these rules, the growing number of coronavirus cases and weakening world economy makes us feel as if we could be doing a little more. The good news is there are hundreds of ways to support the common good. From global to local, here are a few ideas:
Nonprofits and neighbors
At this time, it’s hard not to think about doctors, nurses and other medical professionals around the world who are risking their lives to care for the sick. To help bolster dwindling resources, the World Health Organization is accepting donations to help track the spread of the virus, accelerate a vaccine development, care for patients and supply medical professionals with needed equipment.
Closer to home, consider donating to a local food bank. Many food banks have switched to providing drive-through or outdoor distribution options to mitigate COVID-19 exposure. Additionally, they’re working with schools to provide meals to children now that many schools are closed. Find the food bank close to you to learn about ways you can help.
Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard says checking on elderly neighbors is a good Samaritan act. A friendly text check-in can go a long way in staving off social isolation especially as at-risk populations have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control to stay home as much as possible. Delivering a few groceries could be a huge help in keeping them from potential crowds (no matter how small) at stores.
Donating blood may be another way to give back. The American Red Cross reports a severe shortage right now and is urging healthy donors to give.
It’s frightening to realize just how quickly the economy has come to a screeching halt. And while big industries such as travel are getting the attention, small businesses are also feeling the crunch. But again, there are things you can do to help support your favorite small business.
Think gift cards. While it’s ill advised to congregate in groups at your favorite gym or coffee shop now, there’s still opportunity to patronize them without stepping inside. Buy gift cards from your favorite small business for yourself now and use them later when things have returned to normal later. Or give gift cards for birthdays or other special occasions.
Did someone say takeout? Here’s another opportunity to support a local favorite small business without risking illness. You get to skip cooking and your purchase can help a small business weather the storm.
Take your shopping online. Your favorite small business may already be offering specials or discounts now. Perhaps, their creative juices have started flowing and they’ve found ways to still offer services off-site through teleconferencing or shipping.
A few small acts can go a long way at a time when we need to pull together most.