During these crazy times you might be sitting at home with a desire to help however way you can. However, you might not know exactly what is needed or where to start. That’s why we’ve summed up a list of things you can do to help battle this disease!
Hospitals and the (American) Red Cross are in need of blood donations. Because donating events had to be cancelled and a lot the regular donors are 60 years or older, there is a need for blood. Even though blood is not being used to treat COVID-19, blood donations are still needed for ongoing surgeries, such as organ transplants, trauma or childbirth. So, contact your local blood bank to check if they’re in need of blood donations and to check what the protocol is. At MEND, both our VP of Operations Chris Gusty and Advisor & Senior Strategist Gayemarie Brown went ahead and set a good example by donating blood last week.
Also, not only the blood banks are in need of blood. In order to find a treatment for COVID-19, institutions – such as the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project – need blood donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19, to test an experimental treatment that could help high-risk patients recover from the virus.
If you’ve got N95 masks, donating them would be ideal! However, we understand that not everyone has surgical masks laying around in their house. If you have some garment and a sewing machine, you can sew masks! Cloth masks are of course not as effective as N95s, however they’re better than nothing. There is a big shortage of masks in the hospitals, so check on the needs of local hospitals, grab some cute fabrics and sew away. Here’s how a step by step tutorial on how to make a face mask.
Help your neighbors
There might be several elderly or immuno-compromised people in your community. They are probably not seeing a lot of people during this lock down, so check up on them! You might be able to help them by getting groceries, and a simple smile and waive can go a long way.
You can help your neighbors who work in a crucial sector by offering to babysit their kids, while they are off saving people. A lot of children have to be home-schooled because schools are closed. Yet, there are certain sectors, such as (health)care, food supply, transportation, emergency services, and more, where it is impossible for parents who work in those sectors to stay home with their kids. Offer them your time and dedication by taking care of their kids, while they are fighting this disease and keeping the society running.
MEND’s CEO and founder Eziah Syed signed up to volunteer to help people in his building. Try to find out if there is a similar initiative in your neighborhood – or start one yourself!
Check with your local food banks to see what you can do to help. You might be able to give any extra items you have in your pantry or simply donate some money. You can also donate dinner meals to hospital workers through food ordering service Seamless. Each participating restaurant has their own donation option to pick from.
Additionally, keep an eye out for ‘WIC’-items at the grocery store. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a program to make sure that kids and pregnant women get the food they need. Switch to a brand that is not WIC labelled, because people who depend on WIC can’t.
Support local businesses
These times are extremely challenging for (small) local shops. You could support them by getting your food or a new WFH-outfit with them, or even by getting a gift card to spend later. It might be what helps them keep in business. You can also choose to send checks to local small businesses for the amounts you would have normally be spending with them if social distancing wasn’t in place. Your nail stylist, barber or hairdresser could all really use the love (and money) right now.
Donate your time.
We understand that not everybody is able to donate their money or things of monetary value. However, donating your time is totally free! There are lots of initiatives going around where volunteers are needed. Like stated above, babysit for parents who work in crucial sectors, help home-schooling children in your neighborhood, or even just offer them a quiet place to study – as this could be a problem when the entire family is at home. You can check out sites such as VolunteerMatch to see what kind of volunteer opportunities there are to aid communities impacted by COVID-19.
You might be able to foster a pet while you’re working from home. As shelters are closing down, organizations such as Best Friend Animal Society are looking for people who are willing to foster a dog or cat for a while. MEND’s CEO Eziah Syed is working on fostering this little cutie on the right. And who knows – maybe you’ll even end up adopting the cute creature?
Also, when is the last time you send someone an actual letter in the mail? Send some love to your (grand-)parents, the nurses and doctors at your local hospital, or the elderly men a couple houses down the street. It’s just a small act of kindness, but we can all use this kind of positivity right now.
Take care of yourself
First of all, wash your hands! And stay home if you’re showing symptoms. The best way to help others, is by helping to stop the spread of this disease. So, listen to the rules your government has given and take them seriously.
Furthermore, take care of your emotional and physical needs. Make sure you stay healthy and fit during this time. Go for a run, do yoga at home, listen to a podcast, and keep your nutrition healthy! In need of social interaction? FaceTime your friends! There is even a Google Chrome extension – Netflix Party – that allows you to watch a Netflix film/series at the same time. Anyone up for a virtual slumber party?
Whether you donate blood, money or time, know that all efforts help to fight this disease and to get the world back to normal.