I’ve been thinking a lot about what we as a society can learn from experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us – myself included – find ourselves struggling with feelings of cabin fever, boredom, or stress as we juggle careers and kids. While all of these are justified, we’re also privileged to have them as problems.
As we figure out how our lives should look in this new normal, it reminds me of something Ghandi said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.”
While we may not be able to hug our loved ones or grab drinks with friends, perhaps the real lesson here is that we can always connect through acts of service, no matter how isolated we may be.
With that in mind, here are 15 ways to help those affected by coronavirus without leaving home:
- Link Up With Your Local Food Bank. With so many people losing work in such a short period, food banks need all the help they can get. Volunteer at your local food bank or donate to Feeding America’s Covid-19 response to help those in need.
Help Counsel First Responders. Mental health professionals and life coaches can help support essential workers in New York City through the NYC COVID Care Network. The group arranges virtual support sessions for workers and their families during these difficult times.
Say “Thank You.” Recruit your kids and write hand-made thank-you notes for healthcare workers in your area. Be sure to call ahead to make sure you’re following disinfection and social distancing protocols for delivery.
Help Hungry Kids. Many children count on free school lunches to get fed. Blessings in a Backpack to help feed kids while school’s out, and they have some really creative ways to get involved while you’re stuck at home. For example, you can recruit your littles to raise money doing #cartwheels4meals on social media, or host a social giving event with coworkers.
Use Your 3D Printer For Good. Join this Virginia-based Facebook group to find out how you can use your 3D printer or laser cutter to make face shields for healthcare workers. Learn more about them in their Mission & Operating Principles Document.
Make N95 Masks Last. Join Sewing For Lives to help make mask covers that lengthen the life span of medical-grade N95’s. Their website is a great resource to learn how to help.
Donate Food To Front Line Workers. Healthcare pros need to eat too! Call ahead to learn when and what they need, then rally friends to help cook or order food for hospital or urgent care staff.
Help Disabled Kids Learn. Kids with disabilities like dyslexia and blindness are especially hard-hit by school closures. Help them study at home by contacting Bookshare, a nonprofit that provides online services for people who have difficulty reading printed materials.
Aid The Underinsured. If you’re short on time, you can still help cover medical costs for COVID victims with a donation to the HealthWell Foundation. The nonprofit funds copays, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses for those in need.
Let The Elderly Know They’re Not Alone. Join Love For The Elderly’s letter-writing campaign and let an older person know they haven’t been forgotten. Got elderly neighbors? Volunteer to pick up their groceries or prescriptions, or help them place on order online.
Support A Small Business. For every service we’re missing – from eating out to getting our nails done – there’s a small business that’s hurting. Help them pull through by linking them up with Opportunity Fund, and also making a donation.
Adopt Or Foster A Pet. Shelters are currently inundated with pets right now as people lose jobs….or worse. Contact your local shelter or rescue, or reach out to the Humane Society to help a furry friend in need.
Deliver Meals To Seniors. Donate or volunteer with Meals on Wheels to help hungry housebound seniors during this difficult time.
- Start a GoFundMe Campaign. Raise money to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for your local healthcare workers, or to support a struggling family or small business. Check out the GoFundME blog for guidelines and ideas for COVID-related fundraisers.
Looking for even more ideas? Check out Facebook’s Community Help in your area. The online hub allows you to request or offer help within 50 miles of your current location.