In the face of a global health crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. We’re scared for the health of our family and friends, we’re uncertain about what the future holds and, to top it all off, we have to avoid social situations at a time when we could use a lot of support.
During challenging times such as these, social distancing or quarantine can make us feel isolated. However, one thing we must all remember is that we can (and should) be there for each other—even when we aren’t able to do so face to face.
The current pandemic has placed a burden on millions of individuals and families around the world, yet we still hear stories of families, neighbors and even strangers going the extra mile to lift one another up. From donating medical supplies and food to singing together from balconies, we can all do our part to create community from isolation and work together to boost morale.
Whether you’re working an essential job in your community or are practicing social distancing to minimize the spread of this global health crisis, there are lots of things you can do to give back and generate a stronger sense of community. Here are some ideas.
- Donate supplies: During a viral outbreak, healthcare needs skyrocket, and many hospitals and emergency response teams aren’t able to get what they need to keep people safe. Similarly, many nonprofits, food banks and shelters are facing dwindling supplies and are struggling to keep pace with the increased need. If you have extra supplies on hand from your business or home, consider donating them to a local organization that serves the sick or impoverished. Healthcare workers are in great need of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, and food banks and shelters need non-perishable foods and personal supplies. If you don’t have supplies, consider making a monetary donation. One small donation can go a long way in keeping multiple people safe from illness or hunger.
- Host virtual lunch or coffee: A lot of our family and friends are either working from home or have had their jobs stalled as communities work to treat and eradicate illness. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of people are feeling isolated and lonely. Reach out to a small group of friends and plan a virtual lunch meeting, coffee date or happy hour, then video chat with each other at the designated time while you eat lunch or have a drink. It may not be a traditional social event, but it’s a great way to talk and give each other support without the risk of infection!
- Pick up essentials for those in need: If you’re fortunate enough to be healthy and not at high risk during a time of widespread illness, remember that your family, friends and neighbors might not be. If you have an elderly neighbor or an immunocompromised friend, reach out to them and ask if they need any assistance. You might be able to pick up essential supplies or groceries for them and drop them off at their door so they can avoid going out in public and risking their health.
- Support local business owners: When entire cities, states or countries are forced to stay indoors to prevent the spread of an illness, businesses lose customers and can suffer significant losses. Small businesses are particularly affected during these times. If you have a favorite local business—such as a restaurant, bookstore or café—see if they are offering to-go or curbside services, so you can support them while keeping yourself and employees safe. If they don’t, inquire about gift certificates and do your holiday shopping early. Shopping at a small business or local restaurant even once a week can help their owners put food on their family’s table, allow them to support their employees and help the businesses make it through the crisis successfully.
- Share positive news and stories: During a global crisis, it can feel impossible to escape the endless stream of news and updates on the TV or social media—many of which are scary or negative. To combat the information overload, start sharing positive news and content with others—whether individually or to your entire social media timeline. Something as simple as a funny video or a cat meme can offer a friend a laugh when they need it most.
You aren’t in this alone
If there’s one important thing to remember during times of grief and stress, it’s that you are not alone—you’re part of a community. School, work and events may be cancelled, but love, empathy and support are not!
By banding together to support people who need it most—whether it’s an elderly neighbor or a struggling local business owner—we can remind ourselves that there is a lot of good in this world and we will get through this challenge together.