During this time of isolation and shelter-in-place policies, it's more important than ever to find ways to support our communities.
While we can't change the reality of the situation, we do have control over our attitudes and our actions within safe parameters. Here are a couple of ways we can promote positivity and support our communities during this challenging time:
DO NOT over-buy or hoard stuff!
It's tempting to go crazy in the toilet paper aisle- nothing brings out the worst, or the best, in us than scarcity. People are frightened right now, and empty shelves only exacerbate that fear.
Take this opportunity to be part of the solution by thinking carefully before you buy items considered essentials. "Do I really have to have an ENTIRE pallet of toilet paper and a carton of Tylenol right now, or am I just freaking out a little?"
Chances are we can all cut down and leave a package or two for our neighbors. If we're lucky, perhaps others will see your discretion and follow suit. Keep in mind: most stores are limiting purchases of essential items anyway, and they're continuing to re-stock every few days or so.
Utilize neighborhood social media platforms
Facebook groups and apps like NextDoor are great ways to keep in touch with your neighbors. It's an excellent way to get the news of the community, spread a little good cheer, and find out if you can help anyone.
Many of us have elderly or disabled neighbors who may need some extra help getting essentials such as prescriptions or grocery items. If you're healthy and don't mind picking up a few extra things on your next brave outing to the grocery- drop some items off on someone's doorstep who needs it.
Support local businesses and restaurants (from a distance)
Because delivery services are hopping right now, there's no reason why we can't continue to try to shop at our local stores and restaurants. Delivery is the only way restaurants can operate right now, and there's a vast array of services that will deliver to your door from anywhere. If you're worried about social distancing, most delivery services will accommodate if you leave a note that you'd prefer contactless delivery when you place your order.
The same is true for some of the other places we may patronize. Some local businesses are offering deliveries of goods (including groceries). Call to check who's accommodating their customers by offering home delivery. (NCO is one of them.)
The projected economic impact of this pandemic is undisputed, and our local small businesses are going to feel the brunt of it. If they're not out of a job altogether, local employees are finding their earnings dramatically cut. Please do what you can to help, including tipping generously if you've got the means.
Donate to homeless shelters and animal shelters
Again, we know it's difficult to part with our stuff in times of scarcity, all of us are feeling it. That said, we humbly suggest that if you're not even halfway through that crate of Clorox wipes you bought at Costco three months ago, consider donating them.
Organizations that care for the homeless and animal shelters are hurting for supplies like cleaning products and other essentials. In times like these, homeless shelters and animal shelters aren't on the front of our radar, and they often get left behind. Not only do they need supplies, but they also need to know the world hasn't forgotten about them.
Google it, or ask around on your community sites. Chances are there are plenty of shelters and organizations in your city willing to accommodate contactless drop-offs or maybe even will come to you to pick up.
Consider giving blood
We know you may be a bit squeamish about this one right now, but hear us out. The American Red Cross is undergoing a severe shortage of donations during the COVID-19 outbreak due to a massive amount of mandatory blood drive cancellations. If you're in good health, consider giving blood to support your community in this unprecedented time of need.
Visit https://www.redcross.org for information on donation locations near you and to make an appointment. They're fully equipped and prepared to ensure a safe, sterile environment for donations.
Be kind and show compassion
There are plenty of other ways you can support your community during quarantine, but extending kindness and compassion may be the most important.
Many people are over-worked and exhausted right now, those in the medical profession, employees of delivery services, and grocery store employees, to name a few. When you see an opportunity to let these folks know that you appreciate them, take it.
Many are also feeling the painful pinch of watching their bank accounts dwindle because they're not making money. Keep that in mind the next time someone snaps at you at the grocery store and be kind- we just don't know what hardships people may be enduring at home right now.
And finally- it's vital to remember that some are facing the nightmare of supporting a loved one who is sick. Coronavirus is spreading, and there are many out there who are up all night worrying about the health of someone they love.
It bears repeating, times that incite fear like we're experiencing now can bring out the worst in people, or it can bring out the best- the choice lies with each of us.