As we watch and read articles about the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic, it’s easy — and okay — to feel helpless. This is a crisis unlike any before, and it’s consequences are being felt in unimaginable ways.
If you are someone who loves to offer their time and resources to make a difference in the lives of others, this crisis has provided more opportunities for outreach but, at the same time, has made it feel more difficult to do so. However, there are still many ways that you can get involved, even if they look a little different than your usual approach.
Here are some charitable efforts to consider during a global pandemic:
Reach out to your community
Sometimes we get so excited to support those in need that we look for opportunities across the globe. This is great, of course, but we often neglect the people that are right in front of us: our communities. Especially during a crisis, it’s easier to start small and enact change locally.
Reach out to a neighbor that you know is struggling, or a friend you know that’s been laid off from their job. This is a relatively small gesture, but it can make a huge impact on someone that’s been experiencing significant hardships lately.
If you’re able, you could also offer to run errands for people in your neighborhood that are at high-risk and can’t afford to go for groceries or other amenities.
Make a donation
Many people have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, so some might have stricter budgets now than they would have previously. If you aren’t as strapped for cash, consider making a donation to an organization that is helping those who have been impacted by COVID-19. There are plenty of national and international programs offering assistance, as well as GoFundMe fundraisers that are dedicated to raising money for families who are financially struggling following an illness or death.
Make a cashless donation
If you are forced to follow a stricter budget that doesn’t allow you to make cash donations, there are other ways that you can give back to those in need. You can donate canned food you have in your pantry to your local food bank. Or, you can consider donating personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks or surgical masks to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. With organizations experiencing PPE equipment shortages, these donations are crucial.
Another thing to consider is giving blood. The Red Cross is currently facing blood shortages because fewer people are coming out to donate due to ineligibility after being exposed to the coronavirus. If you’re able, this can make a world of difference.
While you want to give back to others, it’s also important that you take care of yourself as well. You don’t have to give beyond your means, and you also don’t have to go out and expose yourself to the virus if you are high-risk. Give what you can in any way you can. Even if it doesn’t feel like a lot, it could completely change someone’s life.