It’s easy to feel powerless over how bad the situation is for so many in the world. And while it’s true that lasting change and help must come from policymakers, there is still plenty of good we can do for others, regardless of our level of income and influence. Here are some small acts of kindness we can do for our neighbors, friends, and acquaintances who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and the recession that followed.
Hire them or support their business.
If these people were lucky enough to not completely lose their business last year, find ways to hire them or support their business. If they have a food business, incorporate ordering meals from them into your budget. If you need to have your water heater installed or repaired, hire small businesses in your neighborhood to help support their recovery. Experts say that the road to recovery is long, and while small businesses were the hardest hit, they will also be key to that economic recovery. So don’t hesitate to hire these small, local companies for your needs during the pandemic-they will be able to do the work in ways that bigger corporations can not-with the utmost care and precision.
Help raise funds for their immediate needs.
You don’t need to be part of the 2% in order to extend financial help to those who were hit hard by the pandemic and the recession. If there are people in your neighborhood that need help paying for their hospital or utility bills, consider raising funds for them through charity events or platforms like GoFundMe. In the United Kingdom, British war veteran and centenarian Captain Tom Moore raised more than Â£38.9 million in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. He walked 100 laps in his 25-meter-long garden before his 100th birthday, inspiring many all over the world to raise funds through their own hobbies, skills, and talents.
Assist them in finding affordable gadgets for their kids for remote learning.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown just how big educational inequality is in our system, with many students not having access to a reliable internet connection and a trusty gadget that will allow them to attend online classes and do their homework. While you may not be able to purchase gadgets for all these students yourself, you can rally businessmen in your area to donate some funds to purchase affordable but reliable tablets for under served students, and you can even create a non-profit for it. Just make sure to comply with your local government’s requirements for non-profits and ensure that everything is above board and organized.
Offer to run errands for your high-risk neighbors.
Another way to help is by offering to run errands for your high-risk neighbors, which include those who have chronic illnesses and disabilities or those who are elderly. You can offer to pick up their groceries and leave the bags on their porches or go to the bank for them without having to interact with them face-to-face. Some of the most affected by the intermittent lockdowns are those who already had challenges before the pandemic happened, and one way to help alleviate their hardship is by picking up the slack for them in whatever way they need.
Volunteer at a crisis hotline.
Millions-if not billions-of people across the globe found their mental health taking a dip in different ways due to the unexpected nature of the pandemic and the recession. If you have a knack for listening and saying the right words at the right time, consider volunteering for a crisis hotline. Some volunteers answer calls and some primarily answer texts. If you have the time and want to help out from the comforts of your home, this may be a great way to offer your time, and it might be able to help relieve your own stress and loneliness too.
Lobby for lasting change.
And lastly, we need to do our part in lobbying for lasting change, which involves engaging our policy makers in however way we can. While doing small acts of kindness can change a person’s life for a day, what we want is for change to happen at a macro level so that the most vulnerable groups in our society get the help that they need and deserve. You can start by partnering with organizations whose advocacy lines up with yours, researching about how bills become laws, and communicating with your representatives and audience.Lawmakers have the mandate to represent their constituents, so if you can help advocate for public policies that can help improve communities, that’s a way to help produce lasting change in your community.