How to Engage in Community Service While Social Distancing
During times of crisis, people need to rely on their faith and community more than ever. However, COVID-19 has shuttered churches and rendered resources challenging to find. Social distancing measures have caused separation, despite their necessity.
Regardless of whether your faith demands acts of community service, volunteering helps both you and the recipient. Right now, we can use all the positivity we can get.
With that in mind, here’s how you can continue to serve others, even when you’re restricted.
1. Run Errands for Seniors
If you aren’t at an elevated risk, you can perform acts of kindness for those who are by running errands for them. Those most in danger are senior citizens, as well as individuals with compromised immune systems. Reach out to your community through apps like Nextdoor and offer to do grocery or drug store runs for those in need.
Another way you can help is by offering technical support. Some seniors may need to see their doctors via telemedicine, but they don’t know how to set up the necessary equipment. You can offer to coach them through the process over the phone.
2. Donate Blood
Right now, the nation faces a substantial blood shortage, which creates significant anxiety in those who rely on regular infusions to stay alive. You can’t transmit the coronavirus by donating blood, and centers have taken increased security measures to protect patient safety.
Traditionally, seniors donate blood more often than younger individuals, but they might also be most reluctant to leave the house during this time.
Therefore, if you are not 60 or older, these centers desperately need you to donate, even if you have never done so previously. It only takes approximately 30 minutes of your time, and it doesn’t hurt — plus, you get a free snack. Talk about a win-win!
3. Help Neighbors With Meals
If your neighbor lost their job due to COVID-19, you could help them out considerably by treating them to a meal. Before you get out your grill, study your state health department’s website to learn safe food handling practices, such as using gloves and hairnets during preparation.
Find out how many mouths they have to feed by giving them a call. In general, you will need about a quarter of a whole chicken or three drumsticks for each adult in the household.
If you can get out and about, many local food banks need volunteers to keep up with the increased demand. Lend them a hand if you remain in good health.
4. Make Check-in Calls
If you know a senior who lives alone, regularly make check-in calls with them to make sure they’re okay. When you chat, ask them about their symptoms, if any. Also, inquire how they are doing with needed supplies and help them locate community resources if you have none to offer.
You can also find out about volunteering with your local 211 community referral service. Many regions have expanded services to provide valuable information about the coronavirus to callers. As a perk, you’ll get to learn more about the disease, and you can share facts with your friends online.
5. Start an Online Prayer Circle
Right now, people of faith might feel adrift if their houses of worship have closed due to social distancing. However, you can still engage with others who share your belief system online. Find out if your church has an online community group on social media platforms like Facebook and get involved.
You can also set up an online prayer circle if you can’t locate one for your organization. This time of isolation is the ideal opportunity to build a new support system of the fellow faithful within the virtual world. You can also submit prayer requests for you and your loved ones.
6. Share Your Resources
Many people face significant shortages during this time. Although they don’t get much press, the homeless haven’t disappeared — but they can no longer panhandle in many areas.
If you have time to clean out your closets, donate unnecessary items to your local shelter. You can also fill small plastic bags with hand sanitizer and small amounts of cash to hand out if you do pass someone in need on your trip to the store.
Another idea? Toilet paper remains in short supply, and many store shelves are empty of this staple. If you have extra, carry a few rolls in your trunk. If you see someone desperately seeking any type of paper product, offer them a roll.
7. Practice Acts of Kindness
Don’t overlook the power of small, random acts of kindness. Are you quarantined in your home? Why not make an encouraging window sign to cheer your neighbors? A simple, “We’re all in this together” can bring smiles.
If you can get out and about, why not involve the kiddos in painting messages of encouragement on rocks and hiding them around the neighborhood. When your neighbors head out for solo exercise, you’ll bring a smile to their faces.
Finally, if you have the means to order food delivery, tip your driver generously. When you visit the store, thank the cashier and stock clerks for keeping the supply chain open. Smile more broadly, forgive more readily and treat people the way Christ would.
Keep the Faith and Continue Community Service
Right now is a challenging time, and you might feel lost and unsure of how to help. However, social distancing doesn’t mean you need to stop your community service efforts.
Embrace your faith during these challenging times, and spread kindness with the generous acts on this list.