7 ways you can help your community during the coronavirus outbreak

Published on March 17, 2020 in

As uncertainty looms and fears rise over the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s important that we remain united as a community. In our region 44, percent of households struggle to afford basic needs. With schools and workplaces closing, these families could be devastatingly impacted by COVID-19.

United Way continues to work to support our neighbors through the coronavirus pandemic. You can find more information about our response and impact on our COVID-19 Information and Resources webpage.

Wondering how you can do your part? Even though it seems as if we’re more isolated than ever, there are still ways to stay connected, remain united and make a difference in your community.

Become a virtual volunteer

You don’t have to leave the couch to give back. There are plenty of virtual volunteer opportunities that you can do from the comfort of your own home. You can be a digital advocate for the American Red Cross, or transcribe historical documents for The Smithsonian. Access thousands of volunteer opportunities from your computer, smart phone, tablet or any device that has an internet connection. Millions of people help their community by volunteering virtually. Sign-up for short-term or long-term virtual volunteer opportunities today!

Find more virtual volunteer opportunities through Points of Light.

Stay connected

As we stay six feet away from our neighbors and social distancing takes on an ever-evolving meaning, it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely. There are many ways that you can stay connected with your family and friends without compromising your health. Call your neighbors to see how they’re doing, or video chat with a friend to ease anxiety and offer support.

Combat social stigma

Sometimes we’re so concerned about ourselves that we don’t think about how our actions can affect someone else. Social stigma toward people, places and things can occur when people associate a disease, like COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even when there’s no evidence to support that belief. Social stigma can occur after a patient has been released from COVID-19 quarantine and doesn’t pose a risk to society. It can also occur when we stop patronizing businesses because they’re run by nationalities associated with COVID-19. Practice being aware of social stigmas, reinforcing empathy and being kind.

Volunteer in your community

If you are able, there are still volunteer opportunities in your community. COVID-19 will impact vulnerable populations who rely on charitable services—like seniors and low-income families—the worst. Many of our partners are still in need of volunteers. You can take the proper safety precautions and make a difference in your community by packing food boxes for seniors at Focus: Hope or helping as staff support at CARE House of Oakland County. Visit our volunteer portal for opportunities to help your community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be aware of your neighbors’ needs

Planning for your family and preparing for extended periods of isolation is important, but please, only buy what you need. Remember that many individuals have disabilities or chronic illnesses that inhibit their mobility and access to supplies. When shopping, limit your supplies and consider the needs of others. We’re all planning for our safety and health, so let’s be courteous and keep one another in mind.

Support a high-risk neighbor, family member or friend

People who are older and have health complications, like diabetes and respiratory issues, are at a higher risk of health issues due to COVID-19. Consider helping to lessen their exposure by picking up their medicine from the pharmacy or grabbing groceries. Be sure to protect yourself, and only do this if you can offer supplies to your neighbor from a distance. You can take inventory of your neighbors in need and share the idea with friends who are willing to help.

Donate to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund

COVID-19 will affect more than just our community’s health. As the coronavirus spreads our neighbors will be faced with insurmountable challenges. Loss of income, inaccessibility to child care and lack of access to food will impact our community. You can help support your neighbors and strengthen our community by donating to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.