We are all struggling during this challenging time. As we adapt to this new way of life, there are many uncertainties. How long will this last? Will I get sick? Will those I care about get sick? What will happen to my job? The questions go on. In the previous few blogs, I’ve made suggestions and given you tips on how to cope during this crisis that hopefully allayed some of your fears. It’s very important to help and nurture yourself during this time. But what about others? A lot of people are struggling during this time. They may have been vulnerable before this crisis or suddenly found themselves in a vulnerable position. It is essential that we help if we can. So how can we help? Plenty of ways. Here are some suggestions to help out those who need it.
Stay At Home
I don’t know who hasn’t heard this or hasn’t listened, but stay at home! This is one of the greatest methods of preventing coronavirus. If you don’t come in to contact with people who have it (especially those asymptomatic), then you aren’t going to get it. Simple. The prime minister and world leaders have all said it, premiers have said it, the message is clear. Stay at home unless it is absolutely essential that you leave. Exemptions include work, education, caring for someone else, grocery shopping, medical needs and exercising in 2 or less people. Different states have laws in place with penalties for not obeying the law, it is that important. This doesn’t mean its okay to go to family and friends’ place. The advice is not to. Unnecessary trips increase your chances of exposure and passing on the virus. This is not just for your health, but for others, especially the vulnerable in the community. Staying at home is the easiest thing you can do and actually quite selfless. Don’t be stupid, stay at home.
Donating To Foodbanks and Charities
A lot of people struggle to put food on the table at the best of times, but in times of a pandemic? Many are struggling. Foodbanks and charities have seen a drop in donations as demand for services have increased. Foodbank Australia provides food to 800,000 people a month but are really struggling with supplies at the moment. Charities like Foodbank rely on donations from wholesalers and supermarkets, but, as everyone is panic buying, the wholesalers and supermarkets are rushing to fill the shelves to supply customers. This means there is less surplus for foodbanks and charities. How can we help? You can donate directly to these organizations. Non-perishable items like canned food and pasta are great and in demand. As are items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Sadly, these are the items people are panic buying. Stop and think. Do I really need that much pasta and toilet paper? Probably not. Donating food is a simple way to help others in need.
Sadly, with anyone over the age of 70 being advised to stay home, organizations that rely on volunteers have been stranded as the majority of their volunteers are over this age. Yes, a lot of charitable organizations have shut up a lot services like op shops, there are still a lot of services requiring volunteers. Meals on Wheels, animal shelters and food charities to name a few, still require volunteers to fulfil essential services. Now that a lot of people who previously had paying jobs have a lot of time on their hands, it is the perfect activity to keep you occupied and give yourself some meaning, some purpose. With social distancing in play, these organizations have had to adapt, but are taking all the health, safety and hygiene precautions necessary so it is still safe if you are healthy. If you have been asked to isolate, do not offer assistance. A worthy way to help others.
Support Local Businesses
We’ve all seen the myriad of local businesses shutting down. Be it your favourite restaurant, your neighbourhood bar or a boutique you adore. There is no set time for when these businesses can re-open so they are going struggling, especially as they will still have expenses like rent. How can you support them? A few ways. Local restaurants? Order some takeaway or home delivery. Pick-up is easy but most you can access by delivery, either by UberEats, deliveroo or Menulog (I envy anyone in the Melbourne CBD… I’m craving a lobster roll from Supernormal). Unfortunately, these delivery services take a big chunk of the price of food so where you can, call the restaurant directly as a lot are offering their own delivery services. As for bars, boutiques, experiences etc., consider a gift voucher for use at a later time. A lot places are extending expiry dates so you are safe for the duration of the shutdown. This helps the businesses tremendously and will help keep your favourite institution open once this situation is over. I know I will be and I’ll be supporting my favourite restaurants (just keep me away from local burger joint).
Support The Arts
Now you might think why would I support the arts now when I don’t usually support them? Stop and have a think. Every time you binge watch a series, read a book or listen to music you are supporting an artist. We turn to them in our darkest hours and rely on them. Unfortunately coronavirus has stopped all film production and the release of new movies, bands can’t play gigs, artists can’t have exhibitions, they are all suffering. So how can we support them? If you haven’t signed up to a TV streaming service, now is the time to do so (come on, Tiger King anyone?). Buy movies on platforms like iTunes and Amazon. Sign up to music streaming platforms, buy albums and merch from bands, keep buying books, order a print from your favourite artist. Now I understand that money may be tight at the moment so all of the above may not be possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get behind artists. Like and share their work on social media. Get them some exposure. Someone else may be able to support them financially now, or in the future. It all helps.
It is always a good time to give blood. If. you are 18-76 years old, weigh over 50kg and are fit and healthy, then you are eligible. 500,000 Australians donate blood every year to support cancer patients, new mums and babies, people with immune deficiencies or blood diseases, and people who need surgery or have suffered trauma. However, with the advice to stay at home and limit activities to essential activities only, donor centres are seeing less donors. If the virus spreads, even fewer people will be able to donate (the World Health Organisation made recommendations that anyone who has has coronavirus or in touch with someone with coronavirus, has been overseas recently or has a cold, should not donate blood). The need for blood and plasma is still there so why not help out? Donor centres already adhere to strict hygiene measures but have increased disinfection and sanitization in all their centres so don’t be put off. Donate blood today and know that you are helping someone that really needs it.
Reach Out To Family and Friends
Finally, this may seem to be a given, but it’s very important to reach out to your loved ones during this time. Friends, family, neighbours, reach out. Some people might be obviously vulnerable to coronavirus like the elderly or those with medical conditions, others might be struggling on the inside due job losses, financial worries, loneliness due to isolation or mental health conditions. Whatever the situation, they need help. They may need someone to do their grocery shopping or get their scripts from the pharmacy, they may need a bit of financial support, they may need reassurance that they are going to get through this or, they may just need someone to talk to. Whatever it is, it is easy to offer this support and assistance, especially when it is someone you care about. Just pick up the phone and ask what you can do. They will appreciate it, I guarantee.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to help out others. If you have any ideas, please let us know. And don’t forget to look after yourself. That is just as important. Stay safe people!