While the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging to say the least, it presents an opportunity for communities to come together. Many companies are offering their resources for free in the midst of this crisis. For example, T-Mobile will provide customers on any of their data plans with unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days and LinkedIn has made certain learning courses on remote work free.
With more technology available than ever, we are able to access a wide variety of ways to stay in touch with our community and learn their needs. If you’re looking to lift up those around you, and maybe even your own spirit, check out these five easy ways to give back and connect.
1. Provide your skills free of charge.
Consider what resources you are able to offer your community. If you have experience babysitting, try offering virtual childcare for free. Many parents could use help entertaining their kids while they work from home. If you have experience in communications or marketing, consider helping small businesses in your community address this topic with their customer base. At the end of the day, we all have a specialty or skill we can offer. Consider contributing your resources by posting in a local community Facebook group or in your neighborhood’s Nextdoor group.
2. Support local businesses.
Local businesses are likely to be hit hard during this period of social-distancing because it means Americans will be out and about less. This will likely lead to an influx of shoppers buying from the safety of their home via large retailers with an online presence, rather than local stores. Using data from the S&P 500, the New York Post found that discretionary spending fell 25% in the last month. One easy way to help local boutiques survive this economic challenge is to buy gift cards for future purchases. You can also order takeout from neighborhood restaurants or shop online at your local shops as available. Of course, you should make sure you are financially stable before doing so–stretching your finances too thin won’t help anyone.
3. Tip heavily on to-go orders.
It is no surprise that food service workers are being heavily impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19. Many states, including Massachusetts, New York, and California, have banned dine-in service, allowing only take-out meals or delivery. By ordering for delivery or pick-up, you’re not only supporting the restaurant itself but also keeping local workers employed. Consider tipping their staff and/or your delivery driver generously, taking into consideration their potentially reduced hours and heavily reduced customer base. You can read more about why tipping is vital to a food service employee’s livelihood here.
4. Cheer up those around you.
A smile or a kind social interaction can go a long way! Countless celebrities have stepped up to the plate to provide entertainment–from John Legend performing a free concert via Instagram Live to Lizzo offering free meditation and mantra video, to stars like Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner reading stories for children on their newly founded platform. If you’ve got a song, poem or joke to share, use social media platforms to your advantage.
5. Donate to those in need.
If you are able to spare extra cash in your budget, consider donating to resiliency funds or COVID-19 related support funds. Many cities, universities, and even employers have created such funds to offset the financial toll of COVID-19, helping in situations of emergency travel and lost wages.
While social distancing can make us feel insular, a sense of community has never been more important. Considering sharing your time, resources, or money to help those around you and bolster connection during this challenging time. Together, we will get through it.
Simplicity Bryan is deeply entrenched in the worlds of self-help, gratitude, personal finance, and organization. She’s happiest paddleboarding with her pup and storytelling with a purpose. You can follow her here.
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