Thank your child’s teachers and school staff: I think we can all agree that teachers and staff members at schools are amazing on a normal day. But they are now being tasked with pulling together materials and resources for “at home instruction.” Most have never had to do this before. While most of us are hunkering down and buying groceries, teachers and administrators are developing skills they didn’t need before. They may not have even had time to prepare their own families. Take the time to thank them for what they are doing.
Purchase a gift card to your favorite restaurant: Restaurants run on small margins on a good day. With people actively trying to avoid public spaces, restaurants are going to struggle. You’re correct to not be eating out at this time. But consider purchasing a gift card directly from your favorite restaurant so that they have some cash on hand right now. Ask them if you can pay for it by credit card and if they can e-mail you the certificate (so as to maintain social distancing). And then, when things return to normal, enjoy a night out with your family. (Or, better yet, combine #1 and #2 and consider purchasing a gift card as a gift for a teacher….see above).
Paint kindness rocks with your kids: I expect that we will all be spending a lot of time outside in the coming weeks trying to keep our kids busy while not being in confined spaces or around other people. We’ll be going on walks, bike rides, and hikes through the woods. Consider painting some kindness rocks to leave around your neighborhood with positive messages like, “Wash your hands and be KIND!” or “You’ve got this!” or “Spread love, not germs.” You can even spray the rocks with Lysol before putting them in your community (at parks, on trails, on your neighbors’ doorsteps) to make sure they are completely germ free!
Pool your craft supplies: We are all in the same boat of trying to keep our kids busy at home, while not being able to go anywhere. We all probably have some craft items already at home, but maybe not anything that the kids will see as new and exciting. So, check in with your neighbors and see what they have. Trade and borrow items so everyone has something new to craft and create with. (Don’t forget to disinfect items before passing them on to others.)
Make Cards for Local Health Care Workers: Put those craft supplies to good use and have a “Card Making Day” with your kids. Make cards to thank our public health and health care workers for everything they are doing to care for those in need. These workers are going to be working long hours, in less than ideal conditions. They will be spending a lot of time away from their families. A simple card from a stranger may be the one bright spot in their day. You could mail the cards directly to friends and family members you know who are healthcare workers. You can also call your local hospital or department of public health to inquire if they are accepting mail and how to address such a thank you.
Donate to a Local Foodbank: A lot of children depend on food for more than just lunch. Many children get breakfast at school. And many local schools send kids home with canned goods and snacks every Friday. Many school systems are doing a great job of developing plans so kids can still get lunch each day that school is closed. But, families are still going to be struggling. Donate needed items to your local food bank so that they can help fill in the gaps for families who need the extra help.
Support Local Businesses in Any Way you Can (From a Distance): A lot of small businesses are really struggling as a result of events and activities being cancelled. Even if they don’t have a service they can offer right now, spread the word about your favorite local businesses. Tell your friends how awesome they are and why they should support them. That way, when things are back to normal, they might have an influx of new business.
Order a Meal for a Local Fire Station: I’d tell you to bake cookies or prepare a meal and drop it off. But our local fire stations probably don’t want a ton of complete strangers showing up at their doors and potentially spreading germs. Our paramedics are going to be busy responding to an increase in calls as more people contract the Corona Virus. Fire stations typically cook their own meals and may not be able to get out and purchase groceries. Call and ask the local station when would be a good time to have a meal delivered. Pay for it over the phone (or on-line) and send enough for everyone on the shift.
Check on Your Elderly and Immune Compromised Neighbors: If you know of an elderly or immune compromised neighbor, give them your phone number and tell them to reach out if they need anything. The elderly and immune compromised are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. They should absolutely be avoiding public spaces. If they run out of something, they should NOT be going to get it, and yet many elderly folks might not be used to using delivery services. Help them get the items they need delivered, or if you have what the need, give it to them. But, most of all, remind them that you’re there and that you care.
Take All Precautions Seriously: We are facing a global pandemic. Something most of us have never experienced. We are learning that in many ways we were not ready for this. The best thing we can all do is stay informed and take all precautions seriously. Don’t hoard resources. But stock up on what you need so you don’t have to go out and risk exposing yourself or others. There is scientific data that shows that social distancing works. But it must be done now and by everyone to work. Inconveniencing yourself and your loved ones by avoiding other people will not be easy. But it is 100% the right thing to do. So, stay home, stay away from others, and while you’re at it, spread a little kindness by doing one or more of the things on this list.