While we self-isolate and practice social distancing, we can still connect with others and foster a sense of community in unique and creative ways. Now more than ever is the time for us to unify and look out for the welfare of our friends, family, and neighbors. Here are some ideas to stay connected with your community and positively contribute in the process.
Social Media Opportunities
Major social media platforms have already rolled out features that allow you to find ways to help others in your community. The recently unveiled Facebook Community Help feature gives Facebook users the ability to offer and request assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can scroll through specific posts or search by category, and you can comment or private message the original poster to connect and coordinate directly.
Additionally, people can turn to each other to offer or ask for help on niche, neighborhood-oriented platforms such as Nextdoor. Public agencies are following suit and working with Nextdoor to provide vital information at a hyperlocal level. In addition to acting as a hub for the latest and greatest updates, you can see if anyone in your neighborhood needs assistance or is offering to help others in need during this crisis. Check out the Nextdoor blog for ways they are helping spread vital information to the community. [https://blog.nextdoor.com/2020/03/19/how-nextdoor-is-helping-neighbors-receive-accurate-information/]
Putting Your Skills, Hobbies, and Resources to Good Use
One of the most uplifting aspects of these dark times is the sense of community coming from those who want to help any way that they can. For many of us, we are turning our skills and hobbies into avenues for contributing to the greater good. Perhaps you have a skill or hobby that can be revised to serve a purpose to help others in need. For example, there are sewing groups who are putting together material donation drives to make masks. Restaurants are donating meals to healthcare workers and first responders. Breweries are pitching in and making hand sanitizer. If there are skills or assets you have that can be put to good use, think of a way to pitch in and do your part! All else fails, you can put together a donation drive for materials or a pledge drive to help someone else’s cause.
To reduce the number of trips to the grocery store and other public places, try putting together a neighborhood produce and goods share. Many of us have fruit trees, vegetable and herb gardens, and perhaps even access to freshly laid eggs depending on where you live, in our own yards. If you have neighbors who have complementary crops, try pooling and divvying up your resources so everyone has access to these homegrown goodies. If you don’t have fruit trees or a garden, perhaps you have other culinary skills such as baking that could be added to the neighborhood share. Get creative!
Donations Through Payment Apps
One of the hardest hit sectors of the economy is the service industry. If you are going to have a “quarantini” during your happy hour at home, find a bartender or service worker who is out of work at the moment and send them a tip through one of the many money sharing apps for each drink and appetizer you enjoy. You get to relish your happy hour meal and help a member of your community in need in the process. The same idea could be applied to servers as well!
Neighborhood Fun – From A Distance
If you live in close proximity to your neighbors, organize a set day and time where everyone goes outside – at a safe distance from each other – to do something fun together. There are lots of social media posts showing neighborhoods organizing sing-alongs, dancing, calisthenics, or just saying “hi” to each other. Whatever you do, enjoy the fresh air and break from the great indoors and connect with your neighbors in the process. That spark of interaction will help lift your spirits and keep you in touch with everyone else to make sure they are doing okay, too.
Support Local Businesses & Charities
If you are in position to support local businesses, we have put together some ways you can help them out during this time. Additionally, local non-profit organizations and charities are in need of assistance as well. In addition to financial donations, these critical organizations may need extra volunteers to pitch in – connect with them and see how you can help. You can also use social media and lend your voice to highlight a specific cause. Every act helps and can make a huge difference in the well-being of these community pillars.