Giving back is a great way to feel helpful and bring joy to others. While our communities are experiencing unprecedented disruption, it is especially important for us to stick together and help each other when we can.
Right now, many people are struggling. Some are without jobs, without regular meals, or putting their lives at risk without the proper equipment to keep the rest of us safe. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when so many people are suffering.
You may find it comforting to participate in acts of kindness and generosity to give back to others. Here are a few ways you can help:
Donate time or money: If you are able, consider donating your time or money to organizations that are caring for vulnerable populations during this pandemic. The Washington Post curated this list of nonprofits that have an increase of demand right now.
Check in on your neighbors: Some of your neighbors may be elderly or vulnerable and may be having an especially hard time sheltering in place. A quick phone call to check in could make all the difference in their day. You can offer to bring groceries or other necessities, or simply check in from time to time if they are lonely.
If you don’t personally know your neighbors and are interested in helping those in your community, find your local mutual aid network. Communities around the world have come together to create these networks as forums where neighbors can post their needs and others can choose to help if they are able. Find a network in your area or create one here.
Donate blood: Blood supply has been greatly impacted by this pandemic. If you are willing and able, donating blood is a great way to give back and help those who are in need. To minimize social interaction, the Red Cross recommends scheduling an appointment before going to give blood. You can read more about the process here.
Thank those on the front lines: While many of us do our part to reduce the spread of the virus by staying home, others aren’t so lucky. Grocery store workers, garbage collectors, first responders, funeral workers, delivery drivers, and many others must put themselves at risk every day to keep us safe. Some communities are thanking workers by sending meals to hospitals to thank staff, leaving treats and notes of well-wishes for delivery drivers, leaving kind messages in their windows to cheer up those commuting to work, and more. Consider getting creative to find small ways to say thank you.
Order take-out from local restaurants: Many restaurants are struggling to stay open, while others have already shut their doors for good. To help support local restaurants so they can continue to pay employees and make ends meet, consider ordering take-out from restaurants that you love or would usually visit when able. You can use a local food delivery app in your area or call ahead to pick-up an order. Make sure to tip your delivery drivers if you have food delivered to your home!
Buy gift cards to use in the future: Small businesses are hit especially hard by many shelter-in-place ordinances because they have had to close their doors. While you can’t make appointments at your local salons or shop at your local business, there are small ways to help businesses through this time. Many stores have begun selling electronic gift cards that can be used in the future. This helps small businesses get much-needed revenue now, and you can still cash in on your services later.