How to Help your Community while Practicing Social Distancing
March 30th, 2020 | Ruth Williams, Community Learning Specialist
Most of us are already home and following CDC guidelines on protecting ourselves from COVID-19. A lot of our businesses and schools in the Omaha area are closed or limited to serving a few customers at a time. Society around us has entirely changed in just a few weeks and we’ve adapted to our new lifestyles quickly. But there are still some of us in Omaha that need help or are having trouble keeping up with the changes. What else can you do beyond staying home and washing your hands?
Seniors and immunocompromised people are at the greatest risk and need help getting needed items like food and toilet paper. Grocery stores are taking proper precautions, but that doesn’t stop mysterious people doing mysterious things in the stores. Also, it is difficult for seniors and immunocompromised people to get around right now so please consider delivering food. Delivering food reduces the number of people seniors and immunocompromised people have to interact with compared to grocery stores. You can get involved at www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org to help deliver food.
You can also donate! If you’re brave enough to make a trip to the grocery store, please consider picking up a few extra items for food banks. Local food pantries have been seeing higher numbers coming in for food, so they are in need of more donations. Check out www.foodpantries.org/ci/ne-omaha to find a local food bank you can help by donating.
Food banks and shelters are also in need of volunteers helping sort and give out food. You can check out the same link above. Please remember to practice good hygiene and social distancing (at least 6-feet) while volunteering. You also do not have to physically volunteer for shelters to help out. Omaha is looking for people to help make face mask covers for N95 masks to help them last longer. You can also try looking into other public projects like mask sewing to help with volunteering.
Create Hygiene Kits
Some people might not be able to obtain hygiene products to protect themselves during this time. Check out this list to learn how to create a hygiene kit. You can ignore the last step about dropping off at Kansas. You can instead donate these hygiene kits to shelters or drop-off points.
Support Small Businesses
Small businesses are losing profits during this crisis. Consider ordering food from a local restaurant at least once a week if you have the resources to do so. This will help your local economy and keep your favorite businesses alive. If you don’t want to go out, you can try ordering with your favorite local food delivery service. A few food delivery services are offering free delivery deals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lastly, you can help support local nonprofits. Donating money is always the best thing to do, but quite a few nonprofits have switched to an online platform to keep running. Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Do Space, Children’s Museum, and others are hosting live videos on Facebook or on their websites to continue their services. You can support these local nonprofits by tuning in on their live videos or webinars. If you are interested in Do Space’s webinars, you can check out our calendar to get involved.
After you have tried any of these, please share it. I’m not talking about bragging what you have done, but rather talk about the need, the impact of volunteering, and help people get involved!