10 Things You Can Do to Help Your Community Right Now
To help you (and your neighbors) get through these challenging times, we've come up with some easy ideas to boost your community's spirits while keeping your social distance.
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Pick up Dinner from a Local Restaurant
Give your favorite restaurant a much-needed boost by ordering takeout. While many states have rightfully restricted dine-in eating, you can still get food delivered or taken to-go in a lot of places. This gesture helps restaurant employees put food on their own tables, too.
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Check on Your Neighbors
Making someone’s day is just a phone call away. Now, more than ever, it’s important to check in on our neighbors—especially those who are elderly or immunocompromised. Give them a ring to see if they need someone to pick up groceries or run to the pharmacy—or just to say hello.
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Buy Gift Cards to Small Businesses
Local economies are hurting. So if there’s a restaurant, coffee shop, salon, florist, antique store or other small business that you frequent, consider buying a gift card that you can use later. This small gesture puts cash in the pockets of business owners now—helping them stay afloat during these trying times—and lets you enjoy a treat later. Think of it as an interest-free loan from one neighbor to another.
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Stock a Little Free Pantry
If you have excess goods, consider paying it forward to those in need. Many communities support Little Free Pantries that are stocked by neighbors, for neighbors. Find a project near you, then fill it with canned goods, paper products and other non-perishables. (Check out our expert tips on how to stock a pantry.) You can also donate to larger food relief organizations like Feeding America. Contact your local food pantry to find out what items and resources they need most right now.
Wait to Do Your Shopping
Many retailers are reserving the first few hours of the day for certain guests (including the elderly and hospital workers) to do their shopping when the store is clean and less crowded. Respect these guidelines, and encourage your local stores to set similar hours if they haven’t already.
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While you can’t host a potluck at the moment, you can still post about the yummy monkey bread you made this morning with your kids. Create a Facebook group or text chat with friends, family and neighbors where you can post recipes and photos of all the treats you’re whipping up. This is a great way to keep everyone connected. (You can join our online baking community, too.)
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Take a Clean-up Walk
Yes, it’s safe to take a walk while social distancing. (Just make sure you stay six to eight feet away from any other pedestrians). Make the most of your time outdoors by picking up litter. Not only will you help to beautify the community, you’ll make it safer for wildlife, too. Don’t forget to bring a bag, wear gloves and carry a trash picker if you have one.
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Write Letters to a Local Nursing Home
Spread a little cheer to the community members who need it most. Since most nursing homes are no longer accepting visitors, make someone’s day with a hand-written note or card. Bonus: This is a great craft project for little ones who are at home all day.
Get a Head Start on Spring Cleaning
Put all of your extra time at home to good use. Now is the perfect time to dig through closets, cupboards—maybe even the basement—for items you no longer use. Before you load up your car, call your local thrift shop or shelter to find out if they’re accepting donations. If they’re not, you’ll have a whole bunch of supplies ready to go when life is back to normal. Check out our spring cleaning checklist here.
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If you are healthy and able, consider donating blood. Many community drives have been canceled, resulting in fewer donors. And hospitals are running short on blood supplies at a time when they need them most. To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org.