If you are staying home, step one of helping is complete! Experts say social distancing is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to help prevent overwhelmed hospitals, protect healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, and help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (AMA).
Looking for other ways to help from home? Here are some ideas:
Buy A Gift Card / Order Takeout
Many local businesses and restaurants are struggling as they have been forced to shut down, or at least move all their business online. Buying a gift card from a local shop or restaurant is one easy way to support them during this time. And if you want to take it one step further, you can send the gift card to a friend or family member!
Feeling like going for a drive? Some restaurants are adding online ordering/takeout options since the new #stayhomestaysafe guidelines have been put in place. Most have a clean, safe practice in place for getting the food to their customers with little to no contact. Just be sure to wear gloves if you can, and wipe down the containers/bags before bringing them into the car or house!
Donate To Your Local Food Bank
It is scary to consider, but many Americans will face food insecurity as a side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Between job loss, financial stress due to health concerns, and loss of school food programs, it is essential that those of us who have the means to help do so. Feeding America has set up a Covid-19 Response Fund on a national level, but they also have a tool to look up local food banks in your area.
Support Local Musicians
Just like most industries, musicians are being hit hard financially by the Covid-19 crisis. Gigging musicians earn their living playing for groups of people, whether at local restaurants/bars, performing arts centers, clubs, weddings...of course, this is no longer possible in the current reality. Musicians are getting creative with ways to reach their audiences virtually, but they are counting on the goodwill and love of their fans to carry them through this uncertain time. If you see a musician doing a Facebook Live concert or through another livestream service, ask for their Venmo or PayPal to set up a virtual tip jar for them. Some artists are on Patreon, where fans can contribute monthly to help sustain an artists' career. Purchase merch directly from the artists' website rather than streaming or buying from iTunes. Help keep your local music scene alive so it is still thriving when live performances are once again allowed!
Create a Video Message
Feeling stuck in how to connect meaningfully with friends/family/neighbors from afar? In addition to using Zoom or FaceTime to video chat in real time, it can be fun to pre-record a greeting and "thinking of you" message for those you want to connect with. Especially for those vulnerable populations you can't visit during this time, having something they can save and look back on to brighten their day can make all the difference.
Use Your Skills to Help Others
Do you feel confident using Zoom or group FaceTime? Have you developed a successful regimen for working from home? Do you have ideas for how to help keep kids active/occupied during this time? Feeling especially savvy on the homeschooling front? There are so many ways to reach out and help your neighbor navigate their virtual space more successfully and easily. Lend a hand by lending your skills.
We're all in this together! Staying home, staying safe, and protecting the lives of others is crucial. You can accomplish that and still give back and help your community from home!