The last few weeks have consisted of frequently changing guidelines and updated information regarding how to keep ourselves safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While (hopefully) we are all taking precautionary measures to stay healthy, it can seem like life is on hold. You may be working from home, quarantining, social distancing, occupying young children at home, or making less frequent trips in your community. Despite the damper that this can put on your everyday life, there are still ways to be help your community in safe ways during this time.
How to Get Involved
- Volunteer – Feeding America and Meals on Wheels are looking for volunteers to help pack and organize groceries at food banks across the country. This is a great way to assist at-risk populations who may be quarantined, or young children who depend on school meals. If you are unable to offer your time, you can also make monetary donations to these organizations.
- Donate Blood – The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is encouraging healthy Americans to donate blood even as the coronavirus is spreading throughout the country, saying that “social distancing doesn’t mean social disengagement”. Many blood drives have been cancelled which leads to an increased need for donations. Visit the American Red Cross to find a drive near you or to make an appointment at a collection center. Adams reassures citizens that blood donations are safe as collection centers are following precautions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Be Mindful and Stay Informed – States are enacting different protocols at this time to keep people safe from COVID-19 and also to reduce the burden on our healthcare system. Stay up to date on what your state recommends by visiting the CDC’s website or your state’s public health department’s website. In any case, social distancing is recommended to prevent the spread of the disease. Some basic guidelines to follow are gathering with no more than 10 people at one time, keeping a social distance of 6 feet, staying home when you are sick, and limiting contact with at-risk populations, such as elderly adults.
For Service Members & Their Families
For essential military personnel, life may still be going at full pace. The United Services Organization is still supporting service members and their families at home and abroad. Being restricted to quarantine on base can be a huge blow to morale. Read about how the USO is helping to keep spirits up among military families in “5 Ways the USO is Still Supporting Service Members During the Coronavirus Pandemic”.
Members of the National Guard are deploying in states like New York and Maryland to offer assistance. If you have a loved one in the National Guard, this situation can take a toll on both of you. Offer moral support by understanding that they are working long hours in less than ideal situations to provide food to children, help with testing, and keep communities safe to optimize conditions for other essential workers. If the National Guard is in your community, cooperating with them during this time is a small act that can really go a long way.