Take Action Now: Ways to Support Communities Impacted by COVID-19
We’re living in an unprecedented time, so it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed and dismayed. But there is plenty of potential to make a positive impact during this COVID-19 pandemic. It all starts with getting creative and seeing where you can lend your time and resources.
The shortage of face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical and emergency personnel has been widely reported. But that doesn’t mean that the demand for homemade fabric masks has gone away. Many medical centers are distributing homemade masks when patients come in, even though it’s not to a medical-grade quality. You can download instructions from the U.S. National Institute of Health and make these masks at home with good quality cotton that you can buy from a local crafts store like JoAnn’s.
If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can also make and donate your own protective plastic masks by following online kits or designs using sheets of plexiglass. The need for these are still ongoing despite the general mask shortage having been resolved.
Apart from crafting, you can also do your part to financially support local and small businesses who are severely suffering due to the pandemic. Perhaps there’s a favorite cafe that you know that offers delivery or curbside pickup. Or maybe you can get repairs done with local proprietors instead of going to large box stores. Consider buying what you need from local farmers instead of the supermarket, and order gift cards from local retailers to show your support if they cannot presently open their stores.
With a little bit of searching, you can even find ways to help those in your community who are less fortunate. Many neighborhoods have put up “little libraries” in the form of homemade book cabinets for sharing used books. You can also leave food donations for any nearby pantries or donate meals to those who are reliant on free school meals.
You should also consider ponying up to give blood at a local blood drive, or adopting and fostering animals from nearby animal control facilities — later, when it’s safe to open the doors again. That leads us to the next point.
The best way that you can help the community during this pandemic is to stay at home unless you absolutely have to go out. This is the only real tool we have right now to prevent the spread of the virus. If you do have to leave your house, wear a face mask, gloves, and stay at least six feet away from others at all times.
It’s also important to stay connected even if you’re stuck in isolation. Use any means necessary to communicate with your loved ones, whether it be through awkward video calls, classic handwritten letters, or texting apps like WhatsApp or Snapchat. Staying in touch with family and friends is an invaluable service in itself.
We can’t ignore the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can have a major role in helping others. From crafting homemade masks and protective plastic masks to lending financial support to local businesses in our area, or providing meals for those in need, there are plenty of ways that we can do out part. When it comes down to it, your hustle, time, and resources matter — and staying home when we can make the biggest impact of all.