5 Ways to Help Your Neighborhood During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Now that the COVID-19 crisis requires the majority of Americans to leave home only for select essential reasons, it’s more difficult than usual to think about our neighborhoods as a whole and how the rapid changes prompted by coronavirus affect not just our own households, but also our communities.
The paradox here, of course, is that neighborhoods need the support and cooperation of their residents during this tough time. If you’re not sure how you can help your neighbors while you’re stuck indoors, read on for five easy—but very effective—methods of providing aid and showing your appreciation for the place you call home.
Stay Home Whenever Possible
Above all else, the most important, most helpful, and most actionable thing that you can do to help both yourself and your community during the COVID pandemic involves staying inside your home as often as you possibly can.
Remember that coronavirus can still be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers; even if you don’t display symptoms, avoiding outside contact (and keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and others if you do need to go out) is the safest and the best course of action at this time.
If you have the financial resources, consider ordering deliveries of household supplies and groceries, and if you require a prescription for an unrelated condition, find out if your insurance will cover tele-appointments with doctors.
Order Takeout and Delivery From Local Restaurants
The widespread (and necessary) commitment to social distancing in the face of the coronavirus tragically resulted in serious damage to the restaurant industry, as fewer and fewer patrons chose to dine out and restaurants in many American regions closed their dining rooms altogether.
However, it’s still entirely possible to support your local eateries and to get a delicious meal in return. Rather than shutting down altogether, many restaurants have instead transitioned to takeout/delivery-only models, and you can get your favorite apps and entrees via curbside pickup or a drop-off right at your door.
Delivery sites and apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Seamless do brisk business these days, but if at all possible, try to call your local restaurants and place your delivery or takeout order directly to save these challenged businesses from having to pay additional third-party fees.
If you’d like to support a restaurant that isn’t offering delivery or takeout, many eateries still sell gift certificates that can be redeemed when they fully reopen. Pick up a gift certificate as a gift to future you, and reward yourself with a great meal at a favorite locale when this difficult time in our history, at last, comes to an end.
Check In on Elderly or Disabled Neighbors
Particularly at-risk populations for the coronavirus include senior citizens (particularly those with underlying medical conditions) and individuals with chronic illnesses or other conditions that result in compromised immune systems.
If you have neighbors in either of those risk categories, checking in with them to see how they’re feeling and to find out whether they need any assistance can prove immensely helpful. And if you’re willing and able to make a grocery run for a neighbor or take their dog for a walk so that they don't need to leave the house, then that’s even better.
Look Into Local Volunteer and Donation Initiatives
Plenty of towns and neighborhoods now organize drives and initiatives to benefit those who’ve experienced coronavirus-related hardships, and if your neighborhood counts among them, see if there’s a way for you to lend a hand.
Blood drives, GoFundMe campaigns, and food pantry collections are just a few of the ways in which your neighborhood may rally to assist community members; do some social-media browsing and check your town’s or neighborhood’s official page to find out which efforts require extra helping hands.
Consider Fostering a Pet From a Neighborhood Shelter
Human neighbors aren’t the only ones in need of extra support these days; if you live in an area that hosts an animal shelter, then your four-legged co-residents may also require some aid and attention.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, more and more shelters find themselves shutting down due to an inability to staff their facilities. For that reason, foster families for shelter animals are in particularly high demand right now, and the Humane Society encourages anyone who’s thinking about adopting or fostering a pet to make that move right now.
It’s a quintessential win-win situation; the animal will gain security and interaction, while the new foster “parents” will welcome willing and enthusiastic companions during these long periods of social distancing. Plus, animals can’t contract COVID-19, so it’s a no-risk opportunity to make a new friend!