The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced everyone to become creative and think outside traditional norms. This concept has applied to everything you can think of from virtual happy hours to virtual job fairs and now, virtual volunteerism. During this difficult time in history, the need for a little community caring has increased.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the spread of COVID-19 has had the following impact:
- Close to 26 million adults, the equivalent of 12 percent of all adults in the country, say their household sometimes or often doesn’t have enough to eat within a week.
- 12.4 million adults living in rental housing — 1 in 6 adult renters — say they are not caught up on rent.
- Nearly 83 million adults — 1 in 3 — say it is increasingly difficult for their household to cover usual expenses within a week.
- 45 percent of children live in households that have trouble covering usual expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Close to 54 million people, or 1 in 6 people in the country, live in families with a furloughed or sidelined worker.
Mental and overall well-being has been impacted too.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported 27.8% of adults report depression symptoms caused by COVID-19 stress, in comparison to the normal depression rate of 8.5% prior to the pandemic.
- Nearly 5 out of 10 parents of children 18 and under are experiencing high levels of stress during the pandemic according to The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association.
These statistics show now is the perfect time to care for your community. Below is a list of 4 socially distant virtual ways to show you care.
Order Groceries for a Neighbor
Do you have a neighbor or family friend with limited mobility, physical limitations or distance from family that makes it hard to enjoy basic tasks like grocery shopping? Or maybe a neighbor who was laid off due to the pandemic? Many grocers offer no-contact delivery services that drop the groceries at the front door, making it easy to surprise a neighbor, friend, or family member in need with pertinent essentials.
Have a Holiday Meal Delivered to Someone in Need
This year, holiday dinners and gatherings look different. When you compound the new normal with hardship, that can make what is usually a joyous occasion a little less enjoyable. If you know someone who could use a bit of caring and kindness, consider having a holiday meal delivered to them to brighten up this holiday season. Food delivery services have expanded during the pandemic to include “meal gifting” as a new service. Try it out to spread some cheer.
Send Nice Notes to Someone Spending the Season Alone
Widows, aging seniors, and other neighbors you know may have fewer social connections due to COVID-19. This may be an older adult missing friends who have passed on, or after moving to a new community. In other cases, it could be a widow, coworker, service member or family of a service member. Sending a note or card can help create new friendships and connections or strengthen old bonds. This could be especially valuable to seniors in nursing or care facilities. According to the CDC, "[s]ocial isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions." You can coordinate sending a nice note, by contacting a local senior community.
Host A Virtual Event
There’s nothing like seeing a smiling face! As many people are sheltering in place or alone at home to avoid large holiday gatherings, video events can go a long way. You can plan a game night, ice cream social, pizza party, or other fun activity virtually via video. There are a host of apps available on most mobile devices and tablets for video calls.
Donate to a Cause Online OR Ship Items to Your Favorite Charity
If you are an avid social media user, consider following social accounts for local nonprofit organizations that are committed to causes you align with. As you follow and interact with an organization, you will learn more about secure donation opportunities that are often as easy as a click of a button. You can also become an advocate for those organizations and share the work they do in the community or encourage friends and family to donate and give back. Seek out virtual volunteer events like toy or clothing drives that utilize a digital wishlist perfect for ordering items and having them delivered directly to your charitable event or organization of choice.