As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, people are making every effort to get it under control and reduce the spread. While physical distancing and following lockdown rules in your area are important, you may be wondering what else you can do to help your community.
While it might seem difficult, here is some advice from Shepell* on how you can have an impact.
- Find a local volunteer~ group. Check with your council or MP’s office for local charity organizations and shelters. Many places like food pantries need additional help packing food parcels or making deliveries. In other areas, people have banded together through social media.
- Check in on your elderly or vulnerable neighbours in-person. Take a few minutes to reach out to people you know who are isolating. You could offer to help with food shopping, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy, or walk their dog. When knocking on their door, be sure to stand back two metres to keep physical distance to maintain your safety and the safety of the other person. Remember that governments around the world advise us to only leave our homes if it is essential. Exceptions are made for front line healthcare workers, essential employees of certain businesses, groceries, medical appointments, health emergencies, and those caring for sick loved ones.
- Pick up the phone. A local charity may have a list of vulnerable or lonely people who would appreciate a telephone call. Sometimes the offer or gesture can provide significant moral support.
- Support local business. Small businesses are losing money with the collapse in local shopping. Help them stay afloat by asking if they provide a delivery service or if you can buy gift cards for future purchases. If you are ordering take away food, request no contact delivery service to keep both delivery people and yourself safe. If you must pick up food, it is advisable to wear a mask and gloves.
- Donate to charitable organizations. Now, more than ever, it is important to support charities, as cancelled events and closed shops mean that they are missing out on fundraising opportunities. Homeless shelters, food banks, and caregiving organizations are also facing increasing demand, and any lockdown measures increase the risk of those who are vulnerable to abuse in their homes. If you do donate, look for reputable organizations that operate transparently so that you know where your money is going.
- Spread positive thinking. While some will experience tragedy during this pandemic, this is also a time to reflect on the good that you see emerging around you. Your greatest contribution to your community’s safety may be the role you play as an agent of calm and positivity. Practise kindness every day. Avoid spreading panic and unsubstantiated information on social media. Meditate, practise mindfulness, or pray. Write letters to people you care about but haven’t contacted in a while. Stay connected with those around you through technology. Be sure to bear in mind that this crisis will eventually pass.
We understand these are challenging times. Your CDSPI Members’ Assistance Program (MAP) is here for you – any time, any day. Contact MAP at 1.844.578.4040 or visit workhealthlife.com for help with a variety of concerns, including mental and physical health, family crisis and counselling, and more.
*This information is provided by Shepell, the provider of CDSPI’s Members’ Assistance Program (MAP). In addition to their health and wellness services, Shepell offers many helpful articles for small business owners at workhealthlife.com We encourage you to visit the website for more information.
~The information in this article is accurate as of April 14th, 2020. Please consult your local government rules for guidance about physical distancing orders and restrictions on movement that may affect your ability to volunteer.