Nine Ways to Help Your Community During the Coronavirus Crisis

Nine Ways to Help Your Community During the Coronavirus Crisis

the number of
cases grows and global anxiety rockets, we’re
donating to food banks, supporting local businesses and reviving
the pen pal in an attempt to combat the damaging mental and
physical effects of self-isolating.

Instead of shaking our heads from behind our screens at the
empty shelves and embarking on an Insta-story rant at the stupidity
of stockpiling pasta, we’re reaching out a (virtual) hand (or
elbow) to those who need our help the most. As the number of
coronavirus cases grows and global anxiety rockets, we’re donating
to food banks, supporting local businesses and reviving the pen pal
in an attempt to combat the damaging mental and physical effects
self-isolating can have on the high at-risk community. Working from
home, obsessive hand-washing and hunting for the last pack of loo
roll may have become our new norm, but that doesn’t mean we should
ignore the wider world.

Coronavirus affected your community? Here are nine ways you can support those in need.

Donate to food banks

Dwindling donations and empty supermarket shelves means that
food banks are facing shortages and putting the most vulnerable in
our community under immense strain. Look through your fridge,
pantry and freezers to see if there is anything you can spare or
donate. Call ahead to your local food bank to see if they need any
specific products or better still, use your cash or card to donate.
It gives food banks the flexibility to replenish their stocks.

Use the The Trussell Trust, a UK charity
that provides nationwide hunger relief, to find your local food
bank; search the US directory Feeding America to find ways you can
donate food or money; Citymeals is a NYC-based
organisation that’s taking donations to ensure New
‘s eldery are getting nourishing meals while Los
Angeles Regional Food Bank
looks after
‘s most vulnerable residents.

Join OLIO, a community platform created
to reduce waste and promote sustainable food sharing. Don’t worry;
the NHS has said it’s unlikely that the virus can be spread through
things like packages or food. To give door-to-door donations in
your neighbourhood, simply post a picture of food that’s nearing
its sell-by date and where/when it’s available to pick-up.

Support local businesses

Small businesses already operate on thin margins and many won’t
have a work-from-home option. Shop locally whenever you can, honour
cleaning services if you’ve already budgeted for them and purchase
gift cards for your go-to nail salons, make-up artists and
hairdressers. It’ll help future-proof their finances and give you
something to look forward to once we get back to our daily

Join a volunteer group and check in on at-risk neighbours

We lean on each other in times of crisis and need to stand
solidarity and come together.

Mutual-aid groups have sprung up across several countries to
coordinate care efforts, pool resources and offer practical
support. Search this site to find your nearest
grassroots group or set one up in your community if you can’t find
one. Ask neighbours how you can help, whether that’s running
errands, posting letters or picking up prescriptions – Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is shopping for the elderly,
while the Viral Kindness campaign supports vulnerable neighbours.
Download a Viral Kindness postcard here and pop one through your
neighbours’ doors to see if you can help.

Call your grandparents and other members of your family that
might feel alone or scared about the prospect of self-isolating. A
friendly phone call or FaceTime will help keep spirits high and
ensure you’ve got a plan of action in place. Don’t forget to
(virtually) drop in on self-employed and freelancer friends, they
too will be feeling the (mental and physical) crunch.

Don’t cancel travel plans, rearrange them

We know that any imminent travel isn’t possible and, trust us,
we’re suffering from itchy feet too. If you can afford it,
rearrange travel plans rather than cancelling them. It’ll help
family-run hotels knowing they’ve got not-to-distant (we hope)
reservations – plus, many airlines are offering complimentary
rescheduling. Bookmark our COVID-19
cheat sheet
to easily check the policies of local airlines and
travel companies.

Buy gift vouchers for your favourite restaurants or order

The hospitality industry and millions of people who work in the
sector – from small-batch suppliers, artisan coffee shops to
restaurant staff – will bear the brunt of the financial impact of
mass isolation. Dinner plans and reservations derailed? Buy gift
vouchers to your favourite restaurants to support them. Order
takeout to keep restaurants going and give extra love to your
neighbourhood Asian takeaways that have sadly been the victim of
xenophobia and racism.

Restaurants such as Merienda in Edinburgh are launching
social-distancing fine dining menus which can be delivered straight
to your door (no-contact measures in place) with instructions on
how best to enjoy the dishes.

Write to a resident in a local care home

Remember the time when you would write a letter to your French
pen pal in pastel gel pen and wait eagerly by the letterbox to
receive their response? Well, we’re reviving the pen pal and
sending our letters to a resident in a care home instead. With
limitations being imposed on visitors, the elderly run the risk of
becoming incredibly lonely. They may not be accepting social
visits, but that doesn’t mean they’re not social – send letters,
cards and drawings telling residents about your day. Don’t forget
to include your address so they can write back.

Set up a watch party

Quarantine & Chill? Netflix and Facebook have both
introduced new streaming party services for long-distance movie
nights, kind of like a WhatsApp group chat but streaming. Set one
up, mix up a quarantini cocktail and keep your friends and family
sane in these uncertain times.

Stock up on books from independent bookstores

Before the threat of coronavirus, independent bookstores were
already under immense pressure to stay open and now they’re really
on the brink as in-person shopping decreases to zero. Bypass Amazon
and order online from
independent stores
. Not only will it help save your local
literary store, but it’ll help to support authors whose book tours
have been cancelled too.

Lobby your supermarkets to open early for the elderly

Not everyone has the ability to seek out the last remaining
supermarket or corner store to stock tinned beans. Thankfully, big
brands such as Iceland, Walmart and Australia’s Walmart are opening
two hours early for the elderly. If your local big store hasn’t
followed suit, then give them a call, write to the head office on
social media and lobby for them to allow the vulnerable in early
when the store is sanitised, fully stocked and any risk remains at
its lowest point.