What day of the week is it? When did I shower last? Why don’t toasters have a window so you can see how toasted your bread is? Are you asking yourself these questions as you struggle to keep your sanity indoors. Jokes aside, the global coronavirus pandemic has driven many people to stay home for most of the day.
People are doing their best to stay away from each other in order to flatten the curve during this time. But with the negative news and the extensions of stay-at-home orders, it’s easy to feel helpless and that the only thing to do is wait for the worst to happen.
But that’s not true. In fact, there are plenty of actions you can take to help those around you, and yourself. Volunteering can alleviate the feelings of anxiety, helplessness and boredom most of us are experiencing during this crisis. There are plenty of ways to help during this coronavirus pandemic without violating the stay-at-home order and putting yourself or others at risk. And there are plenty of people, hospitals, companies, and organizations who could really use your help at this time.
So, in the spirit of April being national volunteer month, I’ve decided to list ways that people can serve in their communities during this time.
1. Create Masks
Hospitals nationwide are facing severe shortages of respirator masks. These masks are essential to healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic and helps prevent the spread of the corona virus. One of our employees at Mindset has been making masks and a friend of mine has been making masks with his 3D printer. If you’re not sure how to create a face mask,
YouTube and craft stores like JOANN Fabric have online tutorial videos you can watch.
Check your local hospital’s website for the location and available times to drop off the masks. If you can’t sew or have the tools to create mask, you can still help by donating materials like fabric and elastic used for sewing.
2. Deliver Food for Meals on Wheels
The Corona virus has caused some people, like the elderly, to completely isolate themselves in their home, as they are more vulnerable to getting sick. This has made it harder for them to have access to meals and food from their local grocery stores. Fortunately, there is a national food delivery program called Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels takes in food and meal donations and delivers them to elderly and at risk people in need with the help of drivers who volunteer. To accommodate an increase of people in need, they are looking for on-call drivers to help deliver meals.
3. Volunteer Remotely
If you prefer to volunteer from your home, many organizations have remote volunteer opportunities. For example:
iCloudBe is a student mentorship program where you dedicate one hour each week for the school year. The program provides you with online activities and conversation starters. This is helpful to kids who are finishing out the school year from home and need assistance with their work.
You could also volunteer for Crisis Text Line where you would be a remote crisis counselor. Many people are suffering from anxiety during this pandemic and need someone to talk with them. These are just a couple of organizations who offer remote volunteer opportunities.
Help your Neighbors: There are many ways to volunteer and help out your neighbors during this time. First, you could simply check in with those in with your neighbors by calling or texting. At a time when stress and anxiety levels are up due to the spread of the outbreak and economic uncertainty, checking in with those around you to make sure they are doing OK has taken on an even greater importance.
Social Media networks like Facebook is a good way to stay in touch with neighbors and see if there are any opportunities to help out. Our neighborhood has a Facebook group and people post daily to offer any help to someone in need. You could also help out an elderly or disable neighbor by pick up their groceries or doing chores for them. All while keeping a safe distance of course.
Babysitting is also another way you can help out. If your neighbors have kids at home and need babysitting help due to work or appointments, consider making an offer to help.
Give Blood: The American Red Cross is urging healthy people who are feeling well to donate blood or platelets. The need for blood products is constant and is essential to community health. Healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations. Check out their website for their locations near you.
If you’re looking for ways to volunteer, this is a great list to get you started. Certainly, there are many other ways to volunteer and I would encourage you to do your own research on how to serve and give back to the community. This worldwide pandemic has affected many people, jobs, and organizations but it’s during these times when people come together to help others that make our nation great.
What ideas do you have when it comes to volunteering? Please comment or send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!