Across the world, people are facing tremendous challenges. Many of us want to help but it is difficult to know where to even start. Here are a few simple ways to be a good neighbor while social distancing.
- Stay Home.
This is the number one thing we can all do to protect our community right now.
- Wash your hands.
Yes, it is that easy, really! Even if your contact with others is limited, take the time to wash your hands with warm water and soap. We recommend singing the Happy Birthday song to make sure you scrub for long enough. This website allows you to pick part of your favorite tune to wash your hands to so you know you are doing it for enough time.
- Check-in with friends and family.
This is a tough enough time without the added stress that many people face by being alone, managing work and kids, and socially distancing. Luckily, we live in a time when digital communication is easier than ever. Zoom, Apple FaceTime, and Google Hangouts are great options for chatting in real-time. Marco Polo is also a fun option for sending a video to a friend that they can watch on their own time and respond to whenever! It does not disappear after 24 hours so you can revisit a particularly lovely message. You can also create groups in Marco Polo with your friends or family.
- Buy a gift card to your favorite local establishment.
Many small businesses have been negatively effected by social distancing. Purchasing a gift card gives them a small bit of income during this slow time that you can redeem when businesses reopen. Think about your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, hair salon, pet care place, or any other local business that could use a hand up. Check their websites for gift card options and be a Community Builder in this time of need.
- Make a grocery run for your neighbors.
If you find that you must make a trip to for groceries, call your neighbors and see what they may need too. Leave the items by their door and let them know once their items have been delivered. A great way to get in touch with your neighbors is through the Nextdoor app. If someone makes a run for you, be sure to disinfect the items before bringing inside.
- Help vulnerable children and families access food.
Reach out to your local public schools to see how you can help distribute breakfasts and lunches to students who rely on those meals. These services have been disrupted due to social distancing protocols. You can also find a food bank near you to see how you can help. While many may have limited their volunteer opportunities, there are other ways to be of service, including monetary donations.
- Check with your local ASCPAs and animal shelters for ways to help.
Many of the volunteers who care for sheltered animals are not able to continue working. If you have been considering fostering a dog or cat, this is a great time to lend a helping hand. In New York City, there are hardly any animals left to foster because so many individuals have stepped in to help.
- Crowdsource resources for medical professionals. Ask the medical professionals in your life what their facilities and personnel need the most right now and use social platforms like Facebook, Google Groups and Instagram to source those needs. We are inspired to see people making their own masks to help with the shortage in many hospitals.
We know this is a troubling time, but there is strength in numbers, and powerful ways to build community locally even while physically apart. Have you found a way to help your local community during this time? Tell us about it here!