Y’all. Times are tough.

The COVID-19 crisis has left many of us feeling out of touch, out of focus, and frankly a little useless. While our favorite celebrities’ generosity is inspiring, we don’t all have the resources to host fundraisers or groundbreaking live streams… or even donate money at all! But that is okay!

So, what can we do during these uncertain times, without breaking the bank?

We have compiled our favorite ways to support our communities without ever having to open your wallet. We hope you’ll get involved and start spreading some hope (just not germs!) to those who need it most.

1) Share your blood

Hospitals always need blood donations to be able to provide for those in need. The Red Cross has concerns that the current health pandemic could lead to a shortage. However, blood donations are considered essential, so they are still hosting blood drives. 

The Red Cross is taking great precaution in order to protect donors — in fact, you’re encouraged to go give blood. This is a meaningful and free way to support not just your own community, but those in need across the country.

2) Share a post

Even as businesses begin to reopen, we won’t see the same excitement to have a girl’s night at a restaurant or spend the day wandering in and out of your favorite local shops. If you are like us, you still want to support these businesses, but support these days looks a little different. 

Instead of your usual shopping or dining routines try writing a positive review on the business’s platform, on Google, Yelp, or all three! Another simple — yet effective — way to support local businesses right now is sharing their social media posts or posting on your own social media about their business. If you order take out, post a picture and tag the restaurant.

Who knows! That picture might inspire a hungry follower to support the local biz, too!

3) Share your skills

If you have a skill or activity you enjoy, offer to host a virtual class. We have seen some really fun painting and art classes, innovative exercise classes to get you motivated at home, and virtual book clubs. You name it, someone has “zoomed” it! While these virtual meetups may not be what we are all truly craving they definitely fill the social hole in our hearts.

4) Share your knowledge

Everyone is adjusting to something new and figuring out new routines. Younger people, however, suffer in ways you may not realize. They are missing out on social growth and essential support from educators.

High school seniors missed graduation, prom, and the last season of sports that they never even got to play. That’s a lot of loss for a 17 year old kid. 

You can offer support and mentorship to high schoolers who might be struggling with the next step in their life, or provide tutoring for younger children struggling with online learning. That extra one-on-one time can help them feel supported and successful during this difficult time in their education.

If you know a school-aged kid (or even a college student!), reach out to see if you can support them. The answer might surprise you. 

5) Share your time

Connecting with members of your community to see what individuals specifically need is critical. 

Older members of our community, naturally are at a higher risk. Take a simple burden off their shoulders by asking if they would like you to shop and run errands for them while you are out shopping for yourself.

Or, make an extra portion of dinner for a neighbor quarantining by themselves. Food itself is comforting, and along with the knowledge that someone is thinking about you, that extra pasta will be so much more than a meal for the recipient.

While we are all in the same COVID-19 storm, we aren’t all in the same COVID-19 boat.

Tragically, we have seen drastic increases in domestic violence and mental health issues since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times reported that domestic-violence-related calls in Chicago increased 12% through mid-April.

By maintaining open lines of communication with those in our lives, we can help break these cycles of pain and abuse. Sharing a 10 minute phone call with a loved one, shows to them you are an ally. If you, yourself are struggling, understand there are resources available during these uncertain times. 

These are just five of the many ways you can lend a helping hand during this time. How have you been helping your community and loved ones without breaking the bank?

We’d love to hear how all of you are sharing your love! 

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