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20 Ways To Help Others During the Pandemic

help others during pandemic help others during pandemic

Don’t worry everybody, my six-year-old has this whole global pandemic thing under control. He’s currently working on building a time warp to go back and battle the coronavirus with his lightsaber. In the meantime, though, while you’re home quarantining, you and the kids can still work together to help out your community, friends and family. We all need each other right now.

Small (but mighty) acts of support

  • Lift up essential workers you know — like grocery staffers, delivery drivers, social workers workers — by asking if they could use a meal delivered, coffee, or a train pass you no longer need.
  • Lean into the bartering economy! If you have a skill to share, post it on your social feeds for others who might be in need. For example, if you’re a licensed dietitian, see if anybody in your network needs help planning their meals, and exchange it for a service someone else has to offer. Everybody wins.
  • If there’s a DJ you’ve been listening to, a writer you’ve been enjoying or an artist whose feed brings you joy, get their info and Venmo them to high heaven. Or just buy them dinner.
  • Have some bored ‘tweens at home? Have them virtually “babysit” a friend’s kids by keeping them entertained on Facetime with some stories or activities.
  • Know someone who works in healthcare? Offer to drop off some groceries outside their house.
  • To help your favorite local restaurants stay in business, continue to patronize them in any way you can by ordering delivery or purchasing gift cards for a future date. (And don’t forget to tag them in your social media posts and leave good reviews on Yelp.) (And tip well!)
  • Buy books from independent booksellers — like Powell’s and Books are Magic — to help them stay in business. Sure, delivery may not be as lightning-quick as Amazon, but it really helps these smaller outfits.
  • If you’ve found a book, show or movie that’s distracted you from the virtual hellmouth of your phone for more than an hour, share it with your friends.
  • Reach out to elderly neighbors via phone to ask if they need groceries or help walking their dogs.
  • If you can, pay the folks that help keep your household running —house-cleaners, babysitters, gardeners—as much as you can afford right now, even though you may be on hiatus. Even a small amount helps.

Acts of kindness

  • Set up a car wash for the neighborhood, even if it’s just a drive-through with a hose to get rid of windshield pollen.
  • Have your kids help friends and family who might be lonely in quarantine by sending notes and drawings.
  • That relative or friend who’s living alone? Check in with them each day. But, like, really do it. Set an alarm on your phone and make it a habit.
  • Liven up your neighborhood with chalk art. You’d be surprised by how much sweet designs and even messages can make peoples’ day as they walk by.

Volunteer remotely… and donate!

  • Alone is a non-profit that supports older people as they age at home. Sign up to be a telephone volunteer where you call and check-in with folks two or more hours each week.
  • iCouldBe is a digital mentoring program for students who could use extra volunteers right now to help with distance learning.
  • Crisis Text Line includes free training on how to answer texts from people who need counseling.
  • Healthy donors can give blood, platelets or AB plasma through American Red Cross right now.
  • Give canned or non-perishable items and basic necessities to your local food pantry or shelter. Find one here.
  • Help babies and kids in need by donating baby gear and supplies via Baby2Baby.

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Toby Lowenfels is a writer and mom of three in Culver City, California. Follow her daily musings at @tobyfels.