April 24, 2020 |

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You’re already doing THE most important thing you can to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and that is social distancing. Isolated inside our homes, many of us are still feeling helpless and want to do more. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference.

1) STAY IN TOUCH – Reach out to friends, family, and even those you don’t know well – it feels good for everyone.

2) FINANCIAL SUPPORT – The sky’s the limit.  Food pantries are stretched and welcome all financial assistance. People can support museums by becoming members or by providing unrestricted donations.  Monetary donations to local hospitals and clinics will help them purchase protective equipment. Keep in mind that donating to nonprofits can be a tax benefit later.

3) HELP KIDS READ – Kids in low-income communities lack learning resources, such as e-books and books to read at home.  First Book is one charity sending hundreds of thousands of books to emergency feeding sites, homeless shelters, and other locations.

4) GIVE BLOOD – The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to maintain a sufficient supply.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more information.

5) DELIVER FOOD – Consider helping out lonely senior citizens by delivering a meal through Meals on Wheels or other delivery services.

6) REACH OUT TO NURSING HOMES – Search for a senior center, memory care center, or nursing home in your area and let them know you’d like to write some letters. They can let you know any specific requests and where to send the finished product.

7) CHECK IN WITH THE VULNERABLE – If you have elderly neighbors or friends who are struggling, call them to see how they’re faring. Offer to do some non-contact chores, like putting the trash out, getting the mail, or mowing the lawn.

8) SHOW APPRECIATION – Think of all the frontline workers. Ask your local police department if they’d accept a pizza delivery as a small token of your appreciation.   Inquire at your local supermarket if it’s possible for them to put out tip jars for their employees. Do something extra for the people making deliveries to your home (e.g. a gift of nonperishable food with a thank you note).  If you can do so in a safe manner, don’t forget that you can support local restaurants by ordering carry-out meals.

9) MAKE MASKS – Make masks for others and drop them off at people’s homes.

10) SUPPORT THOSE WHO CAN’T TELEWORK – If you are able, consider paying your babysitter, elder care worker, house cleaner, or dog walker even if they are no longer providing the service.

11) SAVE A PET’S LIFE – Call your local animal shelter and find out what they need most. Consider fostering a pet. It’ll be a win-win situation

The ways in which we can help are endless. It doesn’t matter how small the gesture. We all have the ability to brighten someone’s day even in this uncertain environment. Stay safe!

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