COVID-19 is hard. There’s no doubt about it, this global pandemic is taking its toll on us all. It can make us feel frustrated, frightened, isolated, and uncertain, and sometimes all those things at once. Beyond our personal struggles with the virus, it’s having an impact on our communities. From small business owners and operators to non-profit organizations, everyone is feeling the pinch.
Although it’s clear that local purchasing and patronage have gone down, and many businesses are finding it difficult to make ends meet, the struggle isn’t only financial. The virus has caused volunteers of all stripes to go underground, and it’s not hard to see why. No one wants to put themselves out there at a time when doing so puts them at such great risk.
The Benefits of Getting Involved
Now, more than ever, we find ourselves in a time when community involvement is healthy, even necessary for individual and collective survival. It’s important to feel that, we can make a difference, even in a time of crisis. And in doing so, we can help ourselves, too.
It may surprise you to know that volunteering doesn’t just benefit the person you’re helping. It also has personal upsides—and we’re not just talking about getting the sign-off on your mandatory volunteer hours form! Volunteering connects you with your community, and you may even find yourself networking with a new business or even forming close friendships.
Even more surprising are the physical and mental benefits that you can reap from your efforts. Volunteering helps relieve the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. It combats depression, improves self-esteem, gives you a sense of purpose, and will even help you feel happy, excited, and fulfilled.
How to Get Involved
Volunteering during the time of COVID must, by necessity, be different from what we’re used to. However, there are still plenty of ways to get involved. Here are a few ideas to consider.
- Tutor a child. These days, kids and teachers need all the extra support they can get. Instead of tutoring at the library, offer your services online. With apps like Zoom, you can tutor a few people at once, and even share your screen to illustrate your instructions.
- Clean up trash. This one is easy. It’s ideal for social distancing, and it’s a great way to improve your community, one garbage bag at a time. We guarantee that there’s trash everywhere, so a little initiative goes a long way.
- Help out a food bank. If you’re up for it, you can help cook or serve meals at a local food bank or homeless shelter. If you’re concerned about your health, there are still ways you can be of service. Donate food, funds, or clothing to help out those in need, because, for many, the need has never been greater.
- Be a listening ear. Not everyone can be a therapist, but sometimes, you don’t have to be. Just a listening ear can be a huge help to someone who’s feeling scared or lonely. The elderly are especially isolated right now, both at home and in care facilities. Try writing a letter to a nursing home. You never know who might write back!
Are you ready to see and feel the difference community involvement can make? Find out about community initiatives in your area, think about what you have to offer, and be the light in someone’s day.