Ways You Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: September 2, 2020

This post originally appeared on Chegg Play.

With a serious pandemic happening, we are all learning to adjust to our new temporary norm. If you are wondering how you can lend a hand right now, here are some ways you can help during the COVID-19 pandemic (even when practicing social distancing).

Support small businesses

Small businesses will be hit hard because of social distancing, but there are ways to help them overcome economic setbacks they might be experiencing. Have a fav cozy cafe? A charming bookstore you love? A game board store you frequent? A takeout spot you always recommend to friends? Buy some gift cards from those stores now so they get your business. And later, when they reopen, you have some gift cards you can cash in on at your favorite spots. It’s a win-win.

You can also support small businesses by buying local whenever possible. Get your pet food at the local pet supply shop and order coffee beans from local roasteries. You might pay a bit more, but you’ll be giving back while checking items off your to-do list.

Donate to a food bank

Lots of families don’t have the means to stock up on food and supplies. You can help them out by dropping off goods at a food bank. If you’re in full self-isolation, you can always donate money online. There are plenty of local food banks you can find by just doing a quick search at Feed America.

If you have been displaced because of campus closures and need free food resources, here is a list of some resources we have compiled that can really help.

Donate blood

The American Red Cross really needs our help right now! They are facing a severe blood shortage due to blood drive cancellations in response to this outbreak, and sick patients need blood. If you are healthy, you can find a blood drive near you and sign up for a time slot in advance.

Help high-risk groups 

The elderly, people with long-term disabilities, and those with chronic medical conditions are at a high risk for having complications from COVID-19, so it’s important we look out for them. One way to help is to donate to organizations that need medical resources. GoFundMe even set up a special page just for COVID-19 donations in case you want to look for one that speaks to you.

Besides donating, be considerate of others during this time—especially when shopping for supplies. A lot of the high-risk population might need help getting groceries and medicine. Some grocery stores have even started having special hours and lines for the elderly (which is an amazing idea). You can always do your part to help an elderly neighbor. If you are already out shopping, try asking a neighbor in need if you can get some supplies for them as well. Don’t be afraid to put a sticky note on their door with your phone number, so they can reach out if they need help. And practice good judgment when at the store. Simply avoid getting any abundance of supplies at one time because it might leave those at high risk without any resources.

Take care of yourself

During this stressful time, it’s super important to take care of our health and mental well being. While practicing social distancing is crucial to combating COVID-19 outbreaks, it is also important to follow the other guidance the CDC has put in place. In addition, Psychology Today has some advice for keeping a well-rounded routine while being at home. You can also read more about taking care of your mental health here. Things like making a schedule, video chatting with friends, and doing physical activity can be a game-changer for mental well being while at home. And remember: By staying healthy, you help others stay healthy as well.

Please also know that if you are feeling anxious, isolated, or simply in need of support, you are not alone. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting the word HOME to 741741 to be connected to trained crisis counselors who are available 24/7.