The way we handle quarantine varies greatly. It’s quite a challenge for a lot of us, but I believe we’re doing our best and trying to stay mentally healthy during this difficult time. Some of us have taken to social media to find ways to help the community, and I’m no exception.
Unfortunately, I’m currently not able to contribute physically: due to my weak immune system and tendencies to get sick quickly, I am at risk to contain and spread Covid-19. Therefore, the best decision I can make is to stay home and only go outside when it’s necessary, or possibly to breathe some fresh air for 20 minutes once a weak.
Not Being Able to Help Made Me Upset
I have spent the last month trying to come up with an effective way to assist my community. I’m young, and I have a lot of spare time. I sincerely want to help those in need and keep the city together. Sadly, almost every option I considered wasn’t available to me.
I tried sewing masks, but I’m a terrible sewer. After multiple tries, I realized I’ll be causing more harm if I gift someone a ripped malfunction protection tool, so I gave that idea up. I attempted to sign up for a volunteering program, but all of them required to be physically present: food collection, food sorting, meal delivery and many others. I’m afraid I will contract the virus and pass it on to other people, as well as compromise my immune system, so with a heavy heart, I had to decline those ideas. I managed to find one project asking to look after children remotely as their parents are at work during the pandemic, but the terms and conditions seemed a bit sketchy… I also couldn’t understand why someone would search for an online nanny when you’re supposed to hire a babysitter physically look after your kids. So, I dropped that idea too.
The last straw was me trying to sign up for a government volunteering program that entailed making calls to patients and following up on their health-related requests. After spending almost 2 hours scouring through the application form, it became clear to me that I won’t be considered for this unpaid position, because I’m not a health specialist or a doctor-to-be. The volunteering job demanded a certain level of knowledge I didn’t have. This frustrated me a great deal, so I closed the application and decided I won’t be looking to volunteer anymore.
Donating blood was also a route I wanted to explore, but after doing research, I realized that I would have to be at a clinic for a lengthy period, and I may become at risk of getting infected from other donors. This was overwhelming and painful. I felt useless.
Sometimes Money is The Answer
After giving myself a lengthy pep talk, I sat down and started thinking of alternatives. I can’t volunteer physically, I can’t volunteer remotely, but I can offer financial support. I set aside some time to review my budget and see how much I can contribute regularly.
Being stuck home has a few advantages to it, particularly the lowered expenses. I don’t get any take-out food, and I don’t fill my car with gas every week. I also don’t see a need to buy anything such as clothes or make-up, as I’m staying in my apartment. This allowed me to find a little bit of room in my budget for donations. I don’t feel great about giving up on volunteering and choosing to “throw money at the problem,” but I tried to become a volunteer and failed miserably. But it doesn’t mean I can’t help out in another way.
I can’t volunteer physically, I can’t volunteer remotely, but I can offer financial support.
Even a Small Donation Can Go a Long Way
Something I need to make clear right away is: I don’t have a lot of disposable income. I’m currently on leave from work due to my health issues, and my income has lowered significantly. But I know that even a small amount of money can make a difference, especially during tough times. Every dollar counts.
I ended up making a list of organizations and efforts I’m now supporting, along with amounts I’m financially capable of contributing. Here is the final monthly budget:
- My local Food Bank: $10 a month (I can’t sort and distribute food, but I can absolutely assist with costs).
- Red Cross: $10 a month (donating blood may not be an option, but financial support can still be of help).
- Local healthcare workers support fund: $10 a month (we owe those people our lives).
- Local mental health association: $10 a month (I was a donor before, and it’s time to go back to that. If they can offer new programs to those in need during the pandemic, I’m happy to give a small donation every 4 weeks).
- Crowdfunding websites: depends on the campaigns, but the goal is 2 monthly payments of $5 (this is targeted towards those who lost loved ones due to Covid-19, and coming together as a community is crucial right now).
- Gifts to kind people who make masks at home and donate them: $10 per week (the details are below).
Even a small amount of money can make a difference, especially during tough times. Every dollar counts.
People in Facebook Groups Are Angels
I may not have been able to produce any acceptable masks, but others are much more skilled than me. I found a Facebook group in my city that helps those in need to get supplies and food. If you need help, you write a post with a hashtag #HelpNeeded, and if offer one — use hashtag #Offer.
Those groups are full of locals offering food to be picked up or distributed to others, as well as individuals in vulnerable situations who require assistance. Someone made bread and has two extra loaves — they write in the group and offer those for free. I often see people who had a grocery store gift card lying around — they posted about it and gave the card to someone in need. Some folks went to a grocery store, bought a ton of products and are now willing to share those with their community and neighbors. It’s a small contribution, but for someone, it might mean the difference between going to bed hungry or well-fed.
I spend time at least once a week reviewing the most recent posts and choosing one person who is doing great things for others. For example, today, I messaged a lady who’s sewing masks at home using the supplies she bought, and then she gifts those to others. Unlike mine, her masks are looking decent. So, I messaged her today, offering to transfer her $10, and I’m awaiting her response. At this point, $10 won’t make a difference in my life, and I’m glad to give it to someone making a change.
It’s a small contribution, but for someone, it might mean the difference between going to bed hungry or well-fed.
We Can All Help
I don’t have the best experience looking for volunteering opportunities, and it’s been this way every before Covid-19. But we can always search for other ways to make a contribution. For me, it was a monetary donation, and for others, it might be something else. During this scary spring, people are coming together and finding creative ways to help and support. This is heartwarming and truly inspiring.