Scrolling through the news and social media right now is an endless trek through updates that are hard to stomach. It’s easy to feel like everything is terrible and there’s nothing you can do to fix the world, especially when you’re stuck indoors trying to practice social distancing.
Here are the top three ways that people in the community and the world are stepping up to manage social-distancing, in their own way. No matter how hopeless things may seem, there’s always going to be someone out there willing to help you. And remember, the best way that you can help others right now is by practicing social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Many restaurants are closing their doors. In response, some have decided to donate the perishable food that they have to food banks. Food banks need donations now more than ever, especially with many people stocking up on food and depleting grocery store reserves. With people being laid off from work, there is a greater need for food banks, and restaurants donating food is a great first step to meeting that need. If you wish to support some of these local restaurants, many of them are still offering takeout via contactless delivery. You can also purchase gift cards from them to use after the pandemic is over. This is a great way to support a local business and do your part to help stimulate the economy.
Local coffee shop Salty Espresso has also started an initiative called Totes Together to support the local hospitality industry. When you order a tote bag, you can choose from a list of restaurants, cafés and other small businesses that have lost business or had to close their doors. The proceeds from your tote bag will then go to support that business. If you can afford to, this is another way to shop local and support your community.
Mongering means stirring up or spreading something like a rumour or an emotion. Generally, it’s meant to be negative, as in the case of scaremongering or hate mongering; however, there are a number of groups popping up on social media that aim to do the opposite. CareMongering-HamOnt Hamilton Community Response to COVID19 is just one of a number of groups across the GTA and beyond that are actively working to create community networks of care to help those who need support during this difficult time. The group is targeted to assist those who are most vulnerable. If you are able to, you are more than welcome to volunteer with them, whether that be delivering groceries, providing excess food, or something else.
Authors have taken to YouTube and Twitter to share readings of their books. Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay has been reading segments from his books, pseudo-historical fantasy that is inspired by places such as Renaissance Italy and eras such as the Byzantium Empire. Canadian children’s author Kenneth Oppel has been doing daily readings as well.
If you’re more interested in physical books, Locke Street store Epic Books has been doing porch deliveries of books in order to minimize exposure and support social distancing.
Both elementary and high schools are on track to remain closed. As a result, many parents are juggling work with keeping their children entertained and educated. Many teachers and other folks in the community have stepped up to the plate, like local creator Amber Wood, who has been holding daily virtual songs and story time sessions. Even Audible has provided a service called Audible Stories that young students can access for free.
Why not start a book club via Skype or Zoom with some friends to talk about the amazing books you just read or listened to!
Social distancing can feel isolating and at times and just plain boring. Fortunately, many creators are making free instructional content to help you get through the lows. Illustrator Mo Willems is running a series called Lunch Doodles where he invites viewers to draw, doodle and write along with him.
We’re all in the middle of final essays and exams, if those are even a thing anymore, but on the off chance you’re interested in learning something else there are free online courses you can try. Take a break from studying for exams and learn about the Pyramids of Giza.
While it’s still a work in progress, many groups are trying to move their content online so that people can still access it during this time. It is hard to see the light at a time like this, but seeing people lift each other up might help to lift your own spirits. If you have the time and ability to do so, the wealth of online content is well worth investigating. Or, if you’re able to, consider donating spare food to a food bank. Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
Remember, one of the best ways to help out is to practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus and to keep others in the community safe. Everyone has to do their part — there is no action that is too small — so we can fight COVID-19.