To Help and Be Helped in the COVID Era
Like many of you, I have been adjusting to a new normal of working and staying at home full time due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time of uncertainty and helplessness, I have been reflecting on ways to help my community and the world.
The most important way to help is the obvious — to stay at home in order to save lives. As my colleague Irene wrote in her recent blog post, sheltering-in-place and practicing social distancing is the best way to flatten the curve and subsequently save lives. However, I have also been looking outward to try to find ways to help hospitals, vulnerable populations, and the local community. There are many ways to help, and I believe that each person’s contribution (apart from simply staying at home) is personal based on their own situation.
At Kenway Consulting, our “Why” is “To Help and Be Helped.” This overarching mission guides our decision-making processes and leads us in every aspect of our business. In normal times, our “Why” leads us to provide the highest quality work for our clients, and to help them make enhancements to their businesses to make their work lives better. During this time of global crisis, our mission of helping others can be extended outside of the workplace and has never been more important.
Following is a list I have compiled of different ways people can help during this crisis. If you are looking for a way to contribute but don’t know how, my hope is this will serve as a resource for you.
Ways to Help
1. Donate to your local food bank to help feed those in need. Feeding America serves Americans who face hunger, including children who had been relying on free or reduced-price meals at school but are now at home. You can also find your local food bank here.
2. If you are able to, donate blood. The Red Cross is facing a blood shortage and needs additional donations due to the outbreak.
3. Donate any medical supplies that you may have to help alleviate hospital shortages. If you are an Illinois resident, you can do this by emailing PPE.email@example.com. If you are not an Illinois resident, you can search your state’s website to see how they are collecting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
5. Support your favorite local restaurant by ordering via pickup meals or delivery service. Due to the closures of storefronts, these businesses and their employees need our support. You can also donate to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation to assist those not able to work due to the outbreak.
6. Donate to this Coronavirus Relief Fund, which goes toward several food banks, workers impacted by the virus, and health foundations. The World Health Organization has also set up a Relief Fund to which you can donate.
7. Check in with neighbors who are more vulnerable and consider offering to help them with errands (following social distancing guidelines).
Ways to Be Helped
In addition to helping others, it is also critical to realize the power of your own network and social connections and ask for help when you need it. Staying connected has never been more important, even though we can’t convene in person.
Ask friends for advice and support when you need it. There are a lot of creative ideas out there on how to keep kids who are “e-learning” engaged, how to make the most of free time inside, and even suggestions regarding at home workouts. For example, one way my colleague has been entertaining her kids is by creating a scavenger hunt list of things they can find outside in their neighborhood (although be sure to remind kids to stay 6 feet apart from neighbors who may also be out). Getting help from friends and crowd sourcing creative ideas during this time is a great way to stay connected.
Additionally, getting creative by connecting remotely through Zoom, Houseparty or FaceTime ensures our own happiness and strengthens bonds so that we feel less alone during this crisis. At Kenway, we have been holding weekly Friday afternoon Zoom calls as a way to check in with each other and spend time together even though we are physically apart.
We are also taking this approach with our clients by checking in with them to see if they need additional support. We recognize that there are added complexities and unique challenges during this time, and we are ready to help in any way that we can.
As the business landscape and the world around us changes during this crisis, we strive to continue to help and be helped every day. In doing this, we become stronger as a community and will get through this together.
If you have additional ideas of how to help and be helped, we invite you to reach out and share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.