During a time when social distancing is paramount, and joining hands with other people (metaphorically or literally) seems impossible, there are still ways that you can help.
Support struggling businesses, volunteer, raise morale and develop a personal sense of purpose. I’ve been sheltering in place for just over two weeks and already the situation feels normal. The possibility of free time has worn off a bit and I’m left wondering what I can do during a pandemic that requires we keep a distance.
Before the stay at home order was announced in North Carolina, I walked out of a coffee shop and overheard someone speaking to a restaurant owner.
"What’s for dinner?" It was obvious that the customer had been eating from the restaurant frequently.
Many people are choosing to pick-up their dinners from local restaurants in an effort to keep favorite eateries afloat. Personally, as a now unemployed barista and only partially employed writer, cannot afford to eat out every night. If you still have work, or the means to eat out frequently, it’s a great way to help local businesses make it through a tough time.
attend a live stream concert
Years ago I signed up for information from a collaborative effort called Groupmuse. Their mission was, and is, to bring chamber music to homes and intimate spaces. Now, the organization has launched an impressive list of virtual concerts. World-class musicians in New York and L.A. are quarantined together and they are putting on live-stream concerts. You can reserve a spot for $3 and pay a $10+ donation during the event. Supporting art, and musicians [they also have a Musicians’ Relief fund], while relaxing with some quality music sounds like a great way to spend time while sheltering in place.
record an audio book
LibriVox purpose is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. Right now there has been a renewed effort to record books so that more people can listen. A great personal project if you’ve ever thought of using your voice in a small, but lasting way.
“behind the scenes” with Red Cross
Head over to the Red Cross opportunities page, enter your zip code, and then select “Behind the Scenes”. Once there, you should see a section called “Volunteer from Home” where you’ll see opportunities for on call shifts, scheduling blood donation appointments.
Right now blood donations are still important; the Red Cross provides about 40% of the blood needed by hospitals. Make sure you’ve been well for at least two weeks before deciding to give blood, and check in your local REd Cross for COVID-19 protocols.
Connect with your community or a cause that you want to support.
Volunteer Match can help you find safe, and interesting ways to volunteer during this time.
Foster Care to Success is a way to mentor college-bound foster kids. The minimum commitment is contacting your mentees at least once a week via phone, social media or skype [Zoom, these days]
Know anyone who is suddenly trying to be a homeschool parent? XQ learning has compiled resources high school remote learning, and their blog offers many more helpful articles. If you are living free and easy without kids, maybe offer to help a family tutor their children.
This is a hard volunteer opportunity to imagine: how can we feed people when we’re not supposed to be around people? But many children who rely on school meals and elderly who rely on food delivery still need to eat. Feed America has launched a specific fund to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact your local food bank or Meals on Wheels and see if there is a way you can safely volunteer.
Whatever you choose to do with your time, be intentional.