18 Mar 2020 | 3 min read
SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY DURING THE PANDEMIC
Our world is experiencing a global pandemic.
But in the middle of the darkness, hope shines the brightest. In addition to the brave men and women who serve in hospitals and care facilities, we see people coming together to fight sickness and offer support to their community.
People have reached out to us at Volunteer U to see how they can aid their neighbors. If you’re curious how you can serve during the COVID-19 epidemic, below are a few ideas to get started.
Just because you are practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t serve your community! The internet has created many ways for us to continue to connect despite our quarantines.
- Call. Make a phone call—especially the elderly or those who might be feeling afraid or isolated during the next few weeks—Check-in with your neighbors, friends, and family members near and far.
- Start a Virtual Small Group. Google Hangouts allows you to video conference with anyone around the world who has a Gmail account. Why not start a small group to stay in contact with friends who are also home? You can form a virtual book club, watch a movie together, or chat about life.
- Donate. With many people losing hours at work or being out of work altogether, it’s been not very easy for some to pay their bills. Ask your church or local favorite charity what they are doing to help and consider donating to organizations that are helping others with bill pay.
- Share Hope. Social media is flooded with statistics, information, and memes, highlighting the negative aspects of what is happening in our world right now. While the news is filled with some pretty scary stuff as well, share some positivity in your feed by highlighting organizations who are making a difference, friends who serve in the medical field, or an encouraging verse. Fred Rogers (of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood fame) once said, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers…To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Be a beacon of hope. Throw the spotlight on those who are making a difference in the middle of the chaos and fear.
- Connect through Social Media. The actual purpose of Social Media is to connect from a distance. Use these tools as a way to reach out to friends and family across the globe as you check-in and make sure they are well.
There are plenty of ways to volunteer in person while still staying safe and not spreading germs.
- Give Gift Baskets. As many people stay home in the next few weeks, they are looking for ways to remain hopeful. Create gift baskets filled with popcorn, movies, games, and candy for people to enjoy their time indoors. You can drop off the gift baskets at the front door or send gift cards virtually for people to use at their leisure.
- Donate Food / Soap / Paper Products. Recently, after a mid-week service, my home church offered rolls of toilet paper to single moms and families who hadn’t been able to purchase any at stores. The relief on their faces was precious, and it was something so simple. Many people need help. You can ease minds by donating items to those around you.
- Run an Errand or Shop for an Elderly Neighbor. Those most at risk for the COVID-19 are the elderly or those with preexisting conditions. By offering to go out on their behalf, you are helping take them out of harm’s way. Offer to pick up groceries, medicine, or even take the time to teach them how to use technology so they can stay connected to the outside world from the safety of their home.
There are a ton of other creative ways you can serve your community.
We’ve heard of churches and nonprofits doing some incredible things to help their community, including paying rent, covering bills, donating food, supporting parents who are now homeschooling their kids, and offering online services.
Continue to practice good hygiene to stop the spread of disease. Remember to wash your hands (for at least twenty seconds with soap and warm water), cough into your elbow, maintain a distance (6 feet recommended) and stay at home if you feel ill or have been in contact with someone who has exhibited symptoms. Also, be sure to follow your country’s Center for Disease Control guidance as they continually update best practices for your area to keep your city safe.