During these uncertain times, one thing that has been reassuring is the many ways that people have stepped up to help their neighbors, communities and each other. Perhaps you have seen some of these stories and thought to yourself, “how can I contribute during these times?”. If that’s the case, we’ve got some ideas and resources for you.
Give Your Time While Social Distancing
While the needs of every community are so different, reaching out to your local United Way chapter is a great way to find out what the specific needs are near you that you can support while maintaining a healthy social distance. In St. Louis where our headquarters are, organizations need help with everything from food pantry donations to virtually connecting with seniors to meal deliveries. United Way is a great resource as they have vetted all the agencies they work with and are able to connect you with one that speaks to you that you can help during this time.
Foster a Four-Legged Friend
Shelters around the country are struggling with overpopulation due to a lack of adoptions happening during the quarantine. If you’re one of the millions of Americans sheltering in place for the foreseeable future, consider offering a dog, cat or another shelter animal a home temporarily. This will open up beds for shelters to keep accepting animals and lessen the burden as they typically have fewer staff and volunteers right now. In many cases, shelters are forgoing their typical foster training requirements during this time and often cover the cost of food as well. We might be biased but WFH is all that much better with a furry friend so reach out to your local shelter to offer your help.
If you are healthy and up to it, there is currently a critical need for blood donors during the Coronavirus outbreak as many scheduled blood drives have been canceled. As blood and platelet donations are crucial to patient’s recovery, this is considered an essential service. To learn more about the steps the American Red Cross is taking to protect staff and donors right now or to set up an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org.
Grocery Shop for Neighbors and Friends
Certain high-risk groups, such as the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women are at greater risk if they contract Covid-19. One of the most challenging things about this is something as simple as grocery shopping or picking up medications can be risky for them due to community spread. If you have a family member, friend or neighbor who you think falls into one of these categories reach out and offer to go run these essential errands for them. If you don’t know anyone immediately but want to offer to help others in this way, local Facebook groups or the Nextdoor community app are great places to offer your help. Additionally, consider getting involved with Shopping Angels, a nationwide program to provide services to deliver groceries or other necessities to especially at-risk populations.
Support Local Businesses
Small businesses are the most vulnerable during these times. From restaurants to artists to local boutiques, these will be some of the first businesses to feel the effects of this Coronavirus. Some ways to support them include buying gift cards, this allows these businesses to have some income in the short term and something for you to look forward to using once restrictions as lifted. Another option is to use curbside take out or delivery from local restaurants as they try to stay open and afloat. Many local artists and stores are offering online shopping either through their website or Facebook/Instagram lives and are offering contactless delivery as well.
We can’t say this enough, but the BEST thing you can do for your friends, family, neighbors, and community is to stay home. We know it can feel hard and restrictive but it requires no money, just your time and patience. If you are looking for activities to help you get through this, check out our blog on approved social distancing activities.