15 Ways Families Can Help Their Local Communities Right Now

15 Ways Families Can Help Their Local Communities Right Now

From the US federal government sending supplies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's national stockpile to companies ramping production, people across America are finding ways to help. All of these responses are ways to help one another during this isolation period that has put the world on pause.

Local communities are suffering with people getting laid off, businesses are closing to protect clients, and employee hours are being cut. However, it doesn't have to be all negative. Everyone has an active role to play, no matter the size or idea. In this list we created, everyone in the family can find a way to pitch in from the comfort of their homes (mostly) while we ride this one out and wait until the quarantine is over. 

Acts of good can still be done in the community. Here are a few ideas to start.

  • Donate Extra Medical Supplies


    Medical professionals (doctors and nurses) are on the front lines. And, since the virus has infected people at alarming levels across the world, protective medical supplies, like gloves and masks, are needed by hospitals in the local community. For anyone who hoarded, consider donating these items.

  • Social Distancing Helps Others a Lot


    We've heard this term one too many times in the past couple weeks. The CDC describes social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible." Take this seriously even if others don't. Everyone will follow suit, eventually.

  • Order Takeout or Delivery


    The perfect excuse to stay indoors is food. Although the food industry is taking a hit, people can still keep things running through the support of the community. Ordering food for pick-up or delivery keeps people employed. Restaurants and cafes are even donating some of their proceeds to employees. Call ahead and ask.

  • Check in With Small Business Owners & Employees


    It can be mentally draining with all the hustle and bustle of sustaining a business. In the small interactions when going out to pick up our food, grocery shop, or pick up medicine, try to have some conversations. A simple, "How's it going?" and "I hope you have a nice day" go a long way.

  • Shop Small Online


    The uncertainty of the economy on small business owners is staggering. Entrepreneurs are being forced to take drastic steps to continue operating and many are fearful about the future.

    Some small online businesses are even creating products and services in response to COVID-19 such as hand sanitizers, response survival guide for small businesses, and temporarily suspending memberships, to name a few.

  • Donate Blood


    Blood is needed more now than ever. Over 4,000 blood drives have been canceled in the US because of the coronavirus, resulting in a loss of 130,000 donations, according in a statement by the American Association of Blood Banks. The Red Cross said Americans can schedule an appointment to give blood at RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

  • Buy Gift Cards for Later


    It may seem like this will never end, but it will and in the meantime everyone can play a small part. While many restaurants sell gift cards on their websites, Help Main Street is a new site that aggregates them in one place. Restaurants aren’t charged to be on the site, nor are customers charged to use the platform. Businesses can be found by entering the city name in the search bar or can be narrowed down by ZIP code.

    The founder, Nabeel Alamgir, told Eater he "has plans to expand the gift card site globally with restaurants in Canada, the U.K., and France being added next." Gift cards may not be the solution to this financial crisis, but it helps restaurants stay afloat during the shutdown.

  • Choose Small, Local Businesses First


    Most businesses are feeling a financial strain right now, and are worried about what's to come next. If there is a need to buy something, try local stores first before going to the big retail corporations.

  • Share Hoarded Sanitizer With Local Businesses


    This shouldn't have to be said, but one does not need an endless supply of hand sanitizers that just sit in a closet. Medical professionals and essential businesses alike need them now while things are still going on. If there are a couple of sanitizers that can be spared, donate them for a cause.

  • Run Errands for Someone Who Is in Quarantine


    The elderly and anyone living with a pre-existing condition are the most susceptible to the virus. If we are healthy and do our part to help run errands for someone by reaching out on Facebook groups, texting family group chats, and knocking our neighbor's door, we can help diminish this virus.

    Reach out to local nonprofit organizations and ask if they need volunteers. Most would appreciate the help.

  • Buy Only What's Needed Now


    We've seen countless posts and heard stories of people buying in bulk during this pandemic. The situation hasn't reached a limit, but grocery stores could run out of food and supplies. Just buy what is needed right now as opposed to storing for what isn't guaranteed to happen.

  • Offer Free Services Online


    A handful of useful applications and services are going free for the coming weeks in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Nike Training Club, Sling TV, Carrot Fit, and Apple Books are just some companies that have made all of their services free until further notice.

    Even many news publications are removing paywalls to make it as easy as possible for readers to stay up to date on COVID-19. If the major players are doing it, now is the time for other entrepreneurs to get creative and offer services to help the community.

  • Donate to Local Food Banks


    According to the Department of Human Services, millions of Americans depend on food assistance programs and struggle with food insecurity. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding said purchasing habits outside of food banks impacts the food banks.

    Take a look at the pantry and choose food that someone or a family might need right now. And, people who find themselves in need can find and contact their local food bank through a nationwide nonprofit like Feeding America.

  • Have Kids Make Cards for Nursing Homes


    Crafting cards for the elderly in nursing homes is a lovely gesture that the kids at home can do for fun. Before mailing and/or delivering them, call the care facility to see if they accept homemade cards. The elders at these centers may be feeling isolated. If the card idea is denied, ask if someone would like to chat on the phone. A phone call is also a grand gesture.

  • Volunteer With 'Meals on Wheels'


    Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting more than 5,000 community-based programs across America dedicated to senior citizen isolation and hunger. Right now, this organization is looking for assistance to its COVID-19 Response Fund as well as volunteers. Donated funds will go towards food supplies and subsidize additional transportation and personnel costs.

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