Helping Your Community While at Home

In times of uncertainty, pulling together to help is crucial to the health, well-being and stability of our local communities.

As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shown, some of our communities need help more than ever. And although it may seem daunting at first, there are plenty of ways to lend support, funds or even a helping hand in these trying times. Here’s a few ideas to get you going.

Be responsible

One of the first and best ways to help your local community is to be mindful of federal, state or local guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. This means avoiding congregating in groups larger than 10, staying home when sick, maintaining safe distances (i.e., social-distancing) when in public, and being mindful of any other ordinances or orders issued by health or government officials.

Volunteer

Organizations that feed and run errands for the elderly or otherwise unable are always seeking volunteers.

Meals on Wheels America, for instance, has said some of its programs are “desperately seeking volunteers” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (At the moment, the organization says it is focusing its efforts on assigning volunteers to communities in the most urgent need.)

Feeding America, too, is seeking volunteers to help pack and organize groceries at its food banks and pantries. Be sure to check with your local food banks and help hotlines to see how they could best use your help.

Check with your local food banks and help hotlines to see how they could best use your help. (iStock)

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Online communities are also cropping up in an effort to extend help where it’s needed most. By joining these online groups — sometimes called “caremongering” groups — community members can stay informed of the needs of neighbors, and offer to help where they can.

Be aware, however, that help should always be given in accordance with local, state and federal safety guidelines (and especially those concerning visits to the elderly, or those that might breach any “shelter-in-place” orders) to prevent putting people at further risk of illness.

Donate money, food or blood

If you’re unable to donate your time, many of those same organizations in your community will gladly accept financial support. Find reputable organizations in your neighborhood that are helping where it’s needed most. Your local food banks, too, are likely welcoming donations of canned or non-perishable items, as well as basic necessities.

Your nearby blood banks and hospitals are also in need of donations, according to a recent call from the U.S. Surgeon General.

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