As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, much of our daily lives and routines have been changed dramatically. Everyone has been affected from business owners to the elderly, gig workers and vulnerable people with chronic diseases. For those of us who are lucky enough to work from home and go about practicing social distancing without huge difficulties, it is now more important than ever before to try and help others in less fortunate circumstances. Here are some of the ways that all of us can help.
1. Donate to food banks & charities
Most of us practicing social distancing are avoiding large crowds by not shopping or eating out at restaurants as much. Now with all that money you’re saving up, you can use it for good. Gig workers are being affected particularly hard right now, and overall unemployment rates are on the rise, which means that giving what you can to food banks, making a small donation to charities and poverty programmes will make a difference.
2. Check on your family & friends
Reach out to the community. Ask those around you, especially older people or those with underlying medical conditions or taking immunosuppressant medication if they will need your help in the coming weeks and months. Because these groups are more vulnerable to the virus, they are encouraged to practice stricter social distancing, and may need help to deliver medicines and food, or may wish to just have someone to chat to in times of loneliness.
3. Find ways to support small local businesses
Many small eat-in restaurants and bars are now suffering due to the lack of customers. While it is definitely not recommended to go and visit outlets with large crowds and gatherings, if you do happen to pass by a quiet café with ample space between yourself and other people, why not purchase something to help keep them afloat? Some restaurants have chosen to continue operations through delivery or takeaway – you can support them through ordering online (with an option to request a contact-free delivery on Deliveroo), or grab a meal to take away (using your own reusable tableware if they accept it) and enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
4. Donate blood
As donor numbers plunge and blood drives are cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, many blood banks around the world are struggling to keep up a healthy level. In Hong Kong, the Red Cross has announced that they haven’t managed to collect the “minimum” amount of blood needed, and are seeking volunteers who are healthy and eligible to make an appointment to donate blood.
5. Give extra medical supplies / resources to health & aid workers
There are now a few organisations and groups dedicated to helping those negatively impacted by the coronavirus, such as delivering supplies to elderly or the vulnerable, and redirecting resources like protective gear and surgical masks to medics and aid workers. If you’re in Hong Kong, check out this directory of local NGOs and groups and what supplies they are in search of.
6. Be kind
A pandemic situation is bound to be stressful. All of us are worried, experiencing higher levels of stress than usual, and may feel like there is too much out of our control. But what we can each do is to be kind, empathetic, and connect (remotely) as much to one another as possible. Ask how your friends are doing, tell others to call you if they need emotional support. Every bit counts.
Lead image courtesy of Press Association.