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Top 10 ways to support your local community during the pandemic

Although we may be in isolation, our communities need our support more than ever

<p>Anna Mason is a Top 10 writer for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Anna Mason is a Top 10 writer for The Cavalier Daily.

1. Stay home

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, as social distancing is one of the only ways to slow the spread of the virus and allow our hospital to manage the crisis. As more and more people contract the virus, the overall risk of infection is heightened every day, so the most important thing to do for the time being is to stay inside as much as possible. Only go to the grocery store when absolutely necessary, wash your hands after touching common public items like grocery carts and credit-card pads and maintain distance between yourself and others when exercising.  

2. Order takeout or delivery while restaurants are still open

Restaurants are still open in states like Virginia, California and New York for take-out or delivery. While some restaurants have closed their food services completely, many still offer these limited options with deals and promotions attached to stimulate business. These restaurants need customers to remain profitable and provide their workers with wages and tips. Take advantage of restaurants that are continuing to serve and show support by offering a large gratuity, so they can stay in business after the pandemic passes. 

3. Call people who you know live alone

With churches, restaurants and most public places closed, the opportunity for many people to socialize has disappeared. A lot of people in communities, whether they are young adults or elderly, live alone, and quarantining removes all ability for them to socialize. Reach out and check on the people who are close to you or even those you don’t know that well. Offering them a chance to socialize can brighten their days. 

4. Look into Adopt-a-Grandparent programs

Some of the areas suffering the most from the impact of COVID-19 are elderly homes and assisted living facilities. The nature and danger of the virus has temporarily restricted visitor access to many of these homes. Many of these senior living homes are looking for volunteers to voice or video call their residents who are now in forced isolation. Reach out to see if you can volunteer to talk to a resident or offer to deliver groceries to high-risk members of your neighborhood. Residents with close families are not as affected, but those who relied on volunteer programs providing visitors need the support of their community.  

5. See if students in your area need online tutoring

As all schools in Virginia and other states are closed for the year, students are being forced to adjust to online schooling at a fast pace. Many have no access to in-person instruction and limited access to tutoring, which will be a challenge for younger students as much as it is for us. Many elementary, middle or high schools would probably appreciate being able to offer virtual tutoring and likely need volunteers, so reach out to your local districts and see if they need help assisting younger students with the transition to online learning. 

6. Work to maintain a sense of community in your neighborhood

With many schools shut down and limited community interaction as the result of government-mandated or self-imposed quarantines, look at your neighborhood websites and Facebook groups to see how people are attempting to bring your neighborhood together in these trying times. Some communities are having drive-by style birthday parties for little children or hosting safaris and scavenger hunts for children on walks. Stay connected with your neighbors and see if there is a slight difference you can make in a family’s day, even if it is just putting a stuffed animal in the front yard. 

7. Donate to local and national charities

Many non-profit organizations across the country are using their funds to provide relief during this terrifying time, and these organizations could use any form of assistance people can muster. They are providing meals for people who cannot afford their own, medical supplies for doctors and hygienic supplies for other members of the community who have been majorly affected by the pandemic. Donating to charities such as food banks, the CDC and other medical supply nonprofits can help aid vulnerable populations, assist in research or provide protective equipment for health care workers on the front lines. Donating to nonprofits could change someone’s life during this pandemic.

8. Reach out to local hospitals

Hospitals have been the most hard-hit areas of the pandemic so far. Doctors and nurses are working around the clock to provide care for the patients with coronavirus, and some are being forced to make difficult decisions to protect other patients from contracting the virus. Monetary donations to the hospitals would likely be tremendously appreciated, but showing your support is just as important. Write thank-you notes, make caring phone calls and show that your community is behind these health care systems and supports them. Positivity and encouragement will allow these systems to continue providing care and can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. 

9. Use social media to stay connected and raise awareness

Sure, Instagram and Snapchat challenges can get annoying, but they provide a way for people to maintain connections and create trends without being in contact. Continue making “until tomorrow” posts or drawing vegetables on your Instagram story. Nominate beautiful women to post selfies, and show off your pushups. Staying connected, even in silly ways, allows the country to stay positive during troubling times. So share your quarantine stories and show people how you are making a difference to influence others to make their own. 

10. Remember we are all in this together

Isolation is hard, but just remember that everyone is experiencing the same thing. These times are terrifying and everyone misses their friends from school. Try to stay positive, Zoom and FaceTime your friends and get outdoors when possible. Take advantage of this time and find a new hobby or catch up on some sleep. Just remember that the faster everyone stays inside and maintains quarantine, the faster the virus’s spread will slow and life can go back to normal. 

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