COVID-19 has spread from country to country and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming weeks before reaching a plateau. The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing a breakdown of total (new) cases every 24 hours. But concerns reach beyond new-case numbers. In the past month, the U.S. unemployment rate has seen a drastic increase. According to the Labor Department on March 26, 2020, a record of 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits. It’s estimated by April 2020, 40 million Americans will be jobless.
In response, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion relief package. Companies in industries hit heavily, like airlines and hotels, will receive some aid. More of the money will go to households, small business owners, hospitals, state and local governments.
With so much uncertainty and so many in need, it’s important to focus on how you can help in your own community. Here’s a list of ways you can lend a hand.
The American Red Cross encourages healthy individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org. Donating blood is safe. Please don’t hesitate to give or receive blood.
You can donate pre-made sandwiches and canned goods to your local homeless shelters. You can drop off and, in some cases, they will pick up. Click here to locate a shelter in your state.
Animal shelters in the United States are flooded with animals that need care. Shelters have reduced staff in order to adhere to state rules and regulations. With this decrease, more animals are looking for permanent homes. Some shelters like The Wake County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in North Carolina, created a live Facebook feed. Potential adopters can speak to workers regarding specific pets that are up for adoption. Potential adoptive “parents” are interviewed and can pick-up their new “family” members by scheduling an appointment.
Due to the virus, most concerts have been cancelled. Musicians are keeping the music alive by streaming live concerts. Local musicians in Oklahoma created The Virtual Soundemonium Festival that streams their show on Facebook. People pay to go and provide tips, which some artists choose to donate to the live venues where they perform.
In order to protect nursing home residents from the virus, family members and friends are no longer able to visit. You and/or your children can help fill this void by writing or making cards for residents. Cards provide comfort to those feeling alone and isolated. For a list of nursing homes near you, click here.
The CDC recognizes that senior citizens are highly susceptible to getting the virus. Reach out to friends and neighbors who are elderly to see if they need you to order food and/or supplies. Some older folks are not tech savvy, don’t own a computer or smart phone, which prohibits them from ordering online. One phone call from you can make all the difference.
Feeling socially isolated, especially among the elderly population is not uncommon during these times. There are organizations in some states where you can volunteer to make phone calls to senior citizens. All you need to do is complete a short virtual training program. Phone calls are not meant to be welfare check-ins but to provide senior citizens with companionship they might otherwise not receive. One company offering such opportunities is Callingcare.com in Arizona.
Support your restaurants in your community by ordering pick-up or delivery. No contact pick-ups and deliveries are now widely available. Your support may keep the wait staff employed and the business afloat.
There are other small things that you can do to show community support during COVID-19. When you’re getting deliveries from Amazon, USPS or your local restaurant ─ write a thank you note and tape it to your door. Let the delivery person know how much you appreciate what they are doing.
These are unprecedented times. The world as we know it is changing with each passing minute. During this new normal, remember, helping means not putting yourself or others at risk. Helping means keeping to the guidelines set-forth by the CDC and government in order to keep you and your family healthy and safe. And helping means supporting the people and businesses in need. Let’s come together and do what we can to reach out and be part of the solution today!
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