When people face down something as menacing and unknown in scope as the Coronavirus pandemic, the urge to enact good strengthens. Many who want to help others don’t know how to best do that, particularly now when so much of life looks different. To help, here are some practical ways to give back to your community during COVID-19 that will make a difference and help you fight against its negative effects.
First, there are many nonprofits directly serving people’s essential needs during this time, and they’re typically doing so with a limited staff and volunteer crew. If you’re healthy, volunteer to fill the gaps they’re experiencing—in doing so, you expand their ability to deliver meals, provide medical services, and more.
Apart from donating your time and energy, consider giving your resources. Giving money or supplies to a homeless shelter in dire need of both—perhaps by donating soap and other sanitation products they need to maintain a safe living environment—is one great way to help the homeless in your community. The homeless, along with other disadvantaged people, are one the most vulnerable populations when a crisis hits.
Support Local Businesses
Next, you can give back to your community during this COVID-19 crisis by supporting local businesses that scaled back once shelter-in-place orders took effect. Consider first what industries are hurting the most—entertainment, travel, and retail—and second, what small businesses you want to prop up during this time.
Don’t be shy about advocating for businesses you care about on social media—your nearby friends may also be looking for ways to give back. As you consider how to help, though, take a long view. Many people may make a one-time donation, but most businesses will need more sustained support. Luckily, recently-passed government support bills help small businesses some, but your support further bolsters their business. Practically, consider getting food from your favorite diner delivered, buying from your local bookstore, or sending someone in need of encouragement flowers from your local florist.
Be Aware and Respectful of Others’ Health
Finally, perhaps the most direct service you can provide to your community is continuing to obey proper social distancing guidelines during this time. As this pandemic transitions from novel to our new normal, it may be tempting to let your guard down, visit friends and family, and shirk proper sanitary practices. It’s vital to continue to give people physical space, consistently wash hands, and practice other methods to stop the virus’s spread.
Beyond this, serve your neighbors by checking in on them. You may discover an opportunity to connect them with medical help or support them as they go through this psychologically trying time. In so doing, serving your community becomes serving that one person well.