4 ways you can help out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteering can be one of the most productive and meaningful experiences of your life; why not use this time to start doing it?
Volunteering is defined as an activity where an individual or organization freely gives time to benefit another person or group without expecting anything in return. Apart from being able to help others, volunteers experience the added bonus of improved mental health – numerous research has shown that acts of selflessness lead to lower rates of depression, increased life satisfaction, and reduced stress levels.
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands because the pandemic has curtailed your usual activities, consider using it to volunteer. Most of the suggestions below can even be done in the comfort and safety of your home.
- Make masks and face shields. Personal protective equipment for the face are easy to make, don’t take up a lot of time, and the raw materials are inexpensive. There are also many video tutorials available online. You can donate the finished products to the nearest healthcare facility, or to members of other vulnerable sectors (i.e. supermarket employees, garbage collectors, security guards, etc).
- Cook and/or deliver meals to those who need them. You don’t have to be a culinary genius to come up with food that is nutritious and filling. Even a simple pasta dish will be appreciated by medical frontliners, your senior citizen neighbors, or the blue-collar workers in your community whose earnings have been affected by the pandemic.
- Run errands for immunocompromised or senior citizen neighbors. Many people who cannot leave the house do not just need food – they may also need someone to buy them their toiletries, medicines, and other household needs. On your designated grocery day, simply knock on doors and ask if anyone needs anything, so that you can purchase everything in one go.
- Teach senior citizens to use technology. If you are living with people who are not tech savvy, use the time to educate them on videoconferencing apps, mobile banking, or ordering online. This will make them feel less helpless and can even take some of the burden off you (i.e. you don’t have to run as much errands for them anymore since they can now do things online by themselves). A bonus – nothing feels better than seeing a grandparent’s eyes light up after finally being able to interact with a grandchild she has not seen in months.
There are many opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life, even during a lockdown situation. Just remember that when volunteering during the pandemic, always take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.