Over the course of the last few months we have seen the world greatly shift. A world of always on the go from one event to another has shifted to become virtual and distanced, but even in this time of uncertainty many people are searching for ways to give back to their communities and show that they care about what happens in the world. We can still give back to our community right now and it is more needed than ever. While those essential workers are out working, we can stay home and volunteer virtually to help make our world a better place. Here are seven actionable ways to positively impact your community!
1. Foster or Adopt an Animal
For the animal lovers out there now is the perfect time to take on a pet! Many shelters need help housing their animals due to a variety of reasons. Some pets need help with training while others may need extra attention due to medical reasons. Since you are currently home now is the perfect time to give these animals temporary care and affection that they love. If you have a local animal shelter start there and for more resources check out ASPCA’s find a shelter resource.
2. Check on your Neighbors
Now more than ever our communities need support. Call, text, or even leave a note on their front doorstep to make sure that they are doing alright. Let them know that you are there to talk to if they need someone to chat with or that you can run errands for them if needed. Making a small care package is such an easy way to show you care. Some people have even taken to doing morning yoga with their neighbors from the safety of their own yards!
3. Give Blood
Technically this one you can’t do from the comfort of your home, but donating blood is a great way to give back and a way to get out of your house while still being safe (just don’t forget your mask!). Organizations like the Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and other local blood donation centers help provide a blood supply for your local hospitals. For the Pacific Northwest to maintain a stable blood supply nearly 900 people daily need to donate blood! I am proud to say that I was one of those people. Before you donate don’t forget to drink lots of water and eat a healthy meal.
4 . Tutor Virtually
Across the country many students are stuck at home, unable to learn in regular school environments. As students come to terms with their new reality, many struggle with online learning for a variety of reasons, but you can help rectify that. Signing up online to be an online tutor on websites such as School on Wheels or Learn to Be could help a student out greatly. If you have specialized knowledge consider making a YouTube channel or post videos on streaming platforms to help educate students.
5. Make a Donation
During this time an unprecedented amount of people have filed for unemployment as businesses across the country are struggling. This has caused immense amounts of strain to local and national nonprofits as they try to help provide for all of those in need. If you are financially able, consider making a donation to your favorite nonprofit or local artist who may currently be out of work. If times are tight, but you still want to donate, try looking into donating old clothes to a nearby shelter or use your skills to make masks for health care workers!
6. Thank Essential Workers
Essential workers have been on the front line to ensure our lives have some semblance of normalcy, these include health care workers, grocery store clerks, police officers, pharmacy techs, fire fighters, delivery workers, bus drivers, farmers, people teaching virtually, and so many more. Although, there is not too much we can do for them personally, we can start to share how grateful we are. Sharing messages online to front line workers, fundraising for organizations, sending them a pizza from the local pizzeria, and other small gestures to demonstrate our appreciation.
7. Volunteer for a Crisis Hotline
Many crisis hotlines depend on volunteers to answer phones and texts to help people in immediate need. The current pandemic is having a huge impact on many people and their mental health, by being there for others, you could save another person's life. If you are between the ages of 13-20 consider joining the Teen Link Crisis line which helps raise awareness in schools about teen and youth suicide. Other ways to get involved is to volunteer for the Crisis Text Line or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
No matter how you choose to help your community know that small things can make a huge impact. We believe in you!