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Helping Others During the Coronavirus Crisis:
Who, What, Where, When, and HOW?
A time of crisis (or as I call it: a Tisis) can give rise to anxiety, fear, and panic-induced behavior. We know this. The media has made sure of it. But what goes far less mentioned is another side of humans. The altruistic, love-driven, inspired, and motivated side.
The side that has a strong, swelling desire to do what’s right…
The side that inspires us to lead with love…
The side that motivates us to treat our neighbors as we would ourselves…
That side that guides us to donate money, time and resources to those in need.
The side that leads us to say,
“I’M GOING TO HELP YOU WHETHER YOU HAVE PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFICULTY ACCEPTING HELP FROM OTHERS OR NOT EDNA! NOW TELL ME WHETHER YOU WANT CHARMIN OR KIRKLAND, DAMN IT!”
And that’s the side I want to remind us all to tap into. Because it’s there. It’s just largely been overshadowed by the (warranted) fear and confusion surrounding these uncertain times. It’s just been largely underrepresented by the media (and social media… I’m talking about you too!)
As I’ve explained before, a Tisis really can give rise to charitable and altruistic acts between total strangers. People genuinely wanting to help others simply because…well, it’s the right thing to do.
So, in an effort to help others, help others, (who hopefully help others that help others…) and figure out how to exercise all of our charitable superhuman superpowers, I’ve created the following list. Hopefully, it helps you navigate the waters of altruism in a healthy, safe, sanitary, and actually effective way. (The last thing we want is to be accidentally making things worse through our well-intentioned “help” strategies.)
Below are my five suggestions for helping others out during these uncertain times. But before I get into it, I have to start with this:
*STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE AND STAY HOME*
I can’t stress this enough. This list below is for those that may have an ESSENTIAL need. This isn’t a time for us to go parading around trying to feed our wonderfully inspired desire to help others. I’m glad you have those desires… truly. Because that means you really care and really want to help those less fortunate. But as I said, the last thing we want to do is to accidentally make things worse by spreading the virus. So the biggest help you can be is by staying away from others in whatever capacity you can and by being really, really, really sanitary. And the truth is? Not everyone is capable of being hyper-sanitary. Not even most. Even when they really really try. So that’s why the most effective thing you can do to prevent further spread of the virus, thereby helping everyone… is to stay home.
That being said, here are additional ways to help.
How You Can Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Here’s what covered in this article:
- Social Distancing & Keep it Sanitary
- Donate Money & Nonperishable Goods
- Create an Emergency Donation Box
- Offer to Pick up Supplies and Medicine for Those who Can’t
- Check-in with Elderly Neighbors
- Donate Blood
- STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE AND STAY HOME
1. Social Distancing & Keep it Sanitary
I know most of us are tired of hearing about these two at this point. But really, the most impactful way you can help others is by reducing the spread of the virus in the first place. If you have hand sanitizer (or the spray bottle hand sanitizer solution I’ve talked about in previous posts) then make sure you are spraying everything… and I mean, everything. If you go to the store and get something, spray the bag, wipe down the items with Clorox wipes, change your clothes when you get home… and spray anyone who comes within 6 feet of you directly in any of their face holes… okay fine, maybe not the last one. But definitely be vigilant about how sanitary you are being. Honestly, I go through the exercise of assuming everyone around me already has it already and my behavior adjusts accordingly. It may seem extreme but it’s really not if you think about the magnitude of what is going on. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again (and probably even again): You can be an asymptomatic vector, meaning you don’t display any symptoms, and you can be passing the virus around unknowingly. So be careful, be cautious, and stay your thoughtful and kind self at home.
2. Donate Money & Nonperishable Goods
Meals on Wheels (Senior Citizens)
Senior citizens. Senior citizens are high risk when it comes to the Coronavirus and as such, they should be quarantined and stay home for their own safety. So how do they get their food then? Meals on Wheels. This is a program that delivers meals to those who are unable to purchase or make their own meals.
Here’s how to help with money donations:
- Go to their local website division Here.
- Type your zip code (or a zip code of your choosing) into the search bar
- Click on your preferred location
- DONATE MONEY
- *You can also donate at a national level here.
**If you know of anyone who needs help, you can register them online through their portal for discounted meals! Ages 60+)
**They have a volunteer registration page as well if you are looking to volunteer in some way.
Feeding America (The Hungry)
Hunger. This nonprofit helps feed people and communities facing hunger through a nationwide network of food banks.
Learn more/Donate Here.
CDC Foundation (Everyone)
Food, medical supplies, and emergency staff. I spoke with Elizabeth Patrick, Director of Advancement Services for the CDC Foundation, on Tuesday, and she explained that they will be using the funding to cover the gaps left by the federal appropriations. This might mean food and supplies for those at state and local levels. She mentioned that federal funding doesn’t always trickle down as we may hope and the CDC Foundation is aimed at supplementing the appropriations in a way that can be felt locally. According to one of the edox fact sheets she sent me, “The CDC Foundation is an independent nonprofit created by Congress to help extend the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) lifesaving work.”
No Kid Hungry (The Children)
Children. This nonprofit is targeted at helping get food to those students and children who are affected by the nationwide school closings.
There are a TON of other donation-based non-profits and programs aimed at helping people who are affected by the Coronavirus. These are just a few that I was aware of. I encourage you to do your own research to find one that you support.
- Homeless Shelters (Check your local resources)
3. Create an Emergency Donation Box
Due to the effects of mass panic-buying, many stores are severely lacking in products like paper products, canned and dried food, and medicine. This leaves many people at a disadvantage. Pair that with quarantines and self-isolation and now some of the most vulnerable are at high risk if they need to leave their houses to get supplies… especially if they have to trot around from store to store.
Emergency Donation Box
On Tuesday, I put a box together of things that I knew other people might need and I thoroughly sanitized everything before setting it under a covered entryway at a school up the street from my house. (The school is shut down with no immediate plans for return… so I felt that was a safe option) I posted about it on social media and someone came by and picked it up before the end of the day. Oh, and I included a bottle of Lysol disinfectant spray so that whoever picked up the box, could spray it again thoroughly before giving it to someone who needed it (if that is what they were going to do).
Do I have tons of toilet paper and supplies? No. But I will share what I can because it’s the right thing to do. We are all in this together and I believe we really do have enough to go around.
Here’s my tip: This box is primarily for those who are most vulnerable, the elderly and those with immunodeficiencies or complications.
BOX SUPPLY SUGGESTIONS:
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Medicine (Cold medicine, cough drops, Pain Meds, etc.)
- Depends (or other “accident” underwear)
- Alcohol/hydrogen peroxide
- Canned Foods
4. Offer to Pick up Supplies and Medicine for Those who Can’t
Elderly, Immune-compromised, those with disabilities that make it difficult for them to get to places with ease. These are the people we are trying to help first and foremost. Your healthy butt is fine, so is mine. So let’s help who we can.
IF YOU ARE GETTING SUPPLIES FOR PEOPLE:
- Be vigilant about being Sanitary!
- This means really inconveniencing yourself as far as I’m concerned. Wipe down everything with Clorox wipes, spray everything with disinfectant spray. Keep things in a box and ask them not to touch the supplies for as long as possible or leave them in their garage (days if manageable) before moving them inside. Etc etc etc.
- Wear gloves, a mask if you have one, and take proper precautions.
5. Check-in with Elderly Neighbors
Send them a text or give them a call. Write them a note (that you spray with alcohol!) before you leave it on the front porch. (Make sure you bring your disinfectant spray with you to spray the doorbell and whatever else you may touch).
Maybe it goes something like this:
“Hey Jerry, It’s Marchesa. Yes… Yes, the girl you used to get pissed at for hitting the volleyball over your fence repeatedly… Uh.. yes, fine. The same girl who used to sing off-pitch over the loudspeakers and microphone her parents had in the rec room. JERRY STOP ASKING QUESTIONS, YOU KNOW WHO I AM. I’m calling to check in on you. I’d like to help you. How can I be of help to you right now? Can I go to the store and pick you up some items? Let me know how I can help you. I know I have been the annoying granddaughter you never wanted, but I want you to know I’m here for you. Here’s my number. Write it down. And call me in case you need anything.”
“Hi, I’m your neighbor Mike Jones. I wanted to check in with you and make sure you are okay and have everything you need while you’re self-isolating. Please let me know how I can help you. I’m available to pick up groceries, get you your meds, etc. Anything else you might need help with, feel free to reach out. 281-330-8004, that’s my cellphone number, hit me up on the low.” *PS – Please, don’t take this as an opportunity to push your new mixtape. I’m sure it’s fire, really. But grams and gramps Williams don’t need your thoughts on hunnies, weed, and hustlin’. I might, but they don’t. Not now at least.
6. Donate Blood
Wait, WHAT? But why? I just FINALLY got Red Cross to stop calling me after they harassed me for the past 6 years. Yeah, I know. And guys, I faint every time too. But it doesn’t mean you still don’t do it. The American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood due to a lack of doners during the Coronavirus scare. Here’s my reminder: If you aren’t vigilant about being sanitary. Don’t. Leave. Your house. For any reason. Even to donate blood. Because you may ultimately be making things worse. But if you are super-duper sanitary, that’s great, donate!
You can make an appointment at The American Red Cross here.
As a final reminder:
*STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE AND STAY HOME*
I can’t stress this enough. This list above is for those that may have an ESSENTIAL need. This isn’t a time for us to go parading around trying to feed our wonderfully inspired desire to help others. I’m glad you have those desires… truly. Because that means you really care and really want to help those less fortunate. But like I said at the beginning, the last thing we want to do is accidentally make things worse by spreading the virus. If you are not hyper-vigilant about being sanitary, then none of the above suggestions (aside from the first) will be of any long-term help… and you might actually be causing more harm than good. So please consider that before you embark on any one of your missions. Remember: you can always donate money and supplies to those in need without actually leaving your house.
We have the power.
Ultimately we have the power and ability to control the trajectory of this coronavirus. Viruses can’t reproduce on their own. That’s the nature of being a virus. Oddly enough they lack the ability to reproduce without a host… that’s one of the definitions of a virus. So we really do have the power.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “I think we’re in the middle of a massive experiment worldwide. The experiment is: Will people listen to scientists? In this case, medical professionals. It’d be interesting if we all paid attention to what scientists say, maybe the virus will just blow on by, with a minimum of cases, and then we kicked its ass, for obeying the recommendation of science on how to minimize your chances of getting it.”
The choice is ours my friend.
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