Next week is National Volunteer Week. We want to acknowledge all of the wonderful individuals who have already given so much the past couple of months to help our country fight this pandemic. Thank you for your efforts to help others during this crucial time.
In honor of these special people, we want to offer ways that everyone can get involved and lend a helping hand with volunteering ideas, and more.
Spread Joyful Messages
It’s easy to be cynical when times are tough. But, like Dumbledore said in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” You can be that light! Wave to your neighbors and strangers alike, share photos and videos of your pets on social media, make colorful signs and chalk drawings to display in your front yard — do whatever you think might bring a smile to someone’s face. Get your kids involved — they can provide much-needed levity and you can show them how kindness in action impacts the community. It’s these little moments of positivity and hope that remind us we will get through this together.
Call the Lonely
This can be an isolating time for many members of our society, but there is a way to make it better. Start by contacting family, friends, and neighbors you think could benefit from a call. While you’re at it, check if they need help with buying groceries or other tasks. You can also volunteer with suicide prevention agencies who field calls from individuals feeling especially low. To get started, click here for the general suicide prevention line or here for a service dedicated to those over 60. Sometimes just hearing a friendly voice during a tough time can make all the difference. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that with ROKiT Talk you can call anyone in the US for free as long as you are connected to WiFi.
Write a Letter
More of a letter writer? You can brighten someone’s day by sending them a kind note to wish them well. An organization called Love for the Elderly takes letters written by volunteers and sends them to nursing homes around the US. See their guidelines here. You could also call a local elder care facility or hospital and see if they are accepting letter donations. Consider writing to healthcare professionals as well to thank them for risking their lives to protect the lives of others. Your older relatives might also love to receive a letter including family photographs or drawings from your kiddos.
Sew Protective Masks
Do you own a sewing machine? If so, you could pitch in by crafting face masks to donate. Where should they go? Joann Fabrics is working toward a goal of sending 100 million masks made by staff and volunteers to medical personnel around the country. Learn more here. You can also call nearby care and medical facilities to see if they are in need of any masks. It’s also a good idea to check-in with friends and family members who might not be able to make masks on their own.
Support a Local Business
Many small businesses are struggling to survive amidst changes and closures. Right now they can use community support more than ever before. Think of local places you frequent — hair and nail salons, boutiques, gyms, bookshops, independent theaters, etc. — and look into online shopping options or purchasing a gift certificate for use at a later date. Additionally, see if you can order take-out from a favorite neighborhood restaurant and leave a generous tip. They are working hard and sacrificing to feed the public.
Make a Financial Contribution
If you can afford to make a monetary donation, there are hundreds of organizations that could use your generosity. Mobile Loaves and Fishes, SAFE Austin, and Chrysalis are very important to our co-founder, John Paul DeJoria. Click here for nonprofits dedicated to helping first responders and their families. Click here for a list of the many restaurants and food services are helping to feed medical staff. To help others affected by COVID-19, consider donating to one of the organizations listed here or here that provide aid in a number of ways for those who are facing financial hardships.
If you want to seek out additional volunteer opportunities, visit VolunteerMatch and see their section on COVID-19. Remember that we all have a role to play, even if it just means following stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines. Look out for others, thank those in your community who are putting themselves out there, and remember to always be kind. This is a difficult time, but together we can overcome any obstacle!