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Give back while still socially distancing

Emily Becker

Senior Contributor

It is during times of insecurity that you most often hear stories of people coming together to help each other. While the coronavirus outbreak is affecting almost every country in the world, it has also brought a silver lining of stories of celebrities making huge donations to nonprofits, neighbours serenading each other from their front porches and families taking this time to reconnect with each other. If you’re interested in stepping up for your community, check out this list of some of the ways you can help others who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Support Your Local Food Bank

No one should have to go hungry during an epidemic. As more people are unable to work and more schools are being closed, food banks are anticipating their support will be needed now more than ever.

While some food banks have closed, others are still seeking healthy volunteers to help with distributing food or putting together packages for individuals and families. If you’re interested in donating food or money, contact your local food bank to see what they’re most in need of. 

Run An Errand For Someone Who's Self-Isolating

If you’re someone who’s elderly, has a disability or a long-term health condition, running to the store, going to visit family or getting prescriptions filled aren’t safe things to do right now. Informal, local mutual aid organisations are popping up in communities all over to connect volunteers with those who are the most vulnerable right now to figure out how to support each other on an individual basis.

The philosophy behind these groups is that while everyone is at risk for contracting COVID-19, not everyone will be affecting equally by this pandemic. If you’re in the U.K., you can see if there is a group in your town (or for information on how to set up your own if there’s not) on the Covid Mutual Aid site.

Check-In With Your Loved Ones and Neighbours

Now that people are being asked to stay home, don’t underestimate the value of calling your friends, family and neighbours. Especially for those who live alone, self-quarantine or social distancing can be especially lonely experiences. But just because you’re self-isolating doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolating.

Organise a group happy hour via FaceTime or schedule a call with a coworker to just catch up with each other for an hour. Check-in on your neighbours by taking a walk around the block (while staying at least 6 feet apart) or heck, follow in the musical steps of Italians who have been serenading each other from their balconies during their country’s quarantine.

Donate To The WHO Solidarity Response Fundraiser

If you want to support those who are the frontlines working to contain the coronavirus outbreak, consider donating to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fundraiser. The campaign is organised in partnership with the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Foundation and is collecting funds that will go to global response efforts to the pandemic.

These efforts include equipping diagnostic laboratories, supporting vaccine development and research and providing healthcare workers with protective equipment. Google and Facebook have already pledged to match any funds raised through their respective platforms, with the latter offering $10 million in matching donations.

Donations are also being collected on the campaign’s website.

Shop at Local Businesses Online - Buy Giftcards To Local Businesses and Restaurants

“Shop local” has been a common mantra for years, but with stores and bars closing and people social distancing at home, the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak is going to be rough for local businesses.

If you have the means, now is time to lend these businesses some financial support. Many restaurants are still able to offer takeaway food, and you could also purchase gift cards to local stores. Even if you can’t use a gift card to a bar or restaurant for a couple of months, every little bit makes a difference as these businesses started to feel stretched especially thin. 

Stay Home If You're Sick

For some, especially if you’re a healthy adult with no underlying conditions, contracting the coronavirus will only result in mild symptoms - coughing, mild fever or shortness of breath. However, for those in a high-risk population, including older adults or those with a preexisting medical condition, contracting the coronavirus can result in a much more serious medical emergency.

This is why if you think you have COVID-19, it’s so important for you to stay home and minimise contact for two weeks. Even though your immune system may be able to fight off the virus, others may not. If you do start displaying systems, contact your doctor before going into hospital and follow the recommendations of WHO to help keep others in your community safe. 

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