The Socially Distant Neighbor

Photo from Unsplash. 

Jessica Li

Unpredictable and nerve-racking are the trying times of the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps more for some than for others. The feeling of unease dwells on all of us, but no one is alone in this situation. As a team and as a community, we can unite and accumulate strength to overcome the hardships together. Unleash your inner spirit and courage. Channel your stress into positive energy where you can perform acts of kindness towards those around you who are in need. Why not make it easier for each other when we can? It is through challenges like this that we can bond the most by helping others and cooperating in the face of adversity.  

How, you might ask, when we are stuck in quarantine? See below for answers. 

1. Shop for groceries and deliver them to elderly neighbors. Seniors, as a result of their lower immunity, have a higher risk of developing severe illness if infected by COVID-19. You can help these more vulnerable populations obtain their supply of food safely, which they may not be able to do on their own. 

If you do find yourself in a situation where someone with a lower immunity needs help, remember to protect everyone involved by washing your hands before and after, and staying 6 feet away, if possible!

2. Donate to or fundraise for food banks. Shelves at grocery stores are quickly emptying. Food demand is high, especially now. The operation of food banks attempts to fight hunger and distribute resources to those in need. Take Feeding America, for example.

“Today, Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization—a powerful and efficient network of 200 food banks across the country,” states Feeding America on their own website. “We feed 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.”

Any donations or money fundraised can save lives. Donate to Feeding America here, or, more locally, the Oregon Food Bank here, which works under Feeding America. 

3. Video chat to check in on friends and family. Be a support system for the people that you care about. They might be feeling lonely and anxious, and you can comfort them via Zoom or FaceTime by talking things out openly and expressing encouragement. Staying connected can help the both of you stay sane. 

4. Volunteer for a crisis hotline. Crisis hotlines offer free and immediate support and counseling 24/7. With news of coronavirus cases and deaths along with isolation measures, the surge in anxiety has been linked to increased calls. 

“The national Crisis Text Line handled 6,000 text conversations last week, about twice the normal volume,” wrote the Sacramento Bee article “Some areas of the country see increase in suicide-related calls as coronavirus spreads” by Don Sweeney. 

Find out more about volunteering for Crisis Text Line here

5. Thank workers in grocery, shipping, and delivery services. Although many businesses have closed, some employees still have to work. Understand that they are sacrificing their own health to provide basic needs for the community as it puts them at risk of infection from exposure to human interaction during such an alarming time. 

“In this time of crisis it’s important for people who are in as good of a situation as I am to work in this time to keep people healthy and safe while minimizing the critical damage,” said Elisabeth Chase, a Target employee in Salem who considers herself a relatively young and healthy individual.  

Next time you encounter someone working, don’t forget to express your gratitude. 

6. Practice social distancing. For the sake of yourself and those around you, make good choices. Comply with social distancing policies to limit the spread as much as possible. Be mindful of others and the consequences that can result from your actions.

Taking initiative to show kindness not only helps others, but also gives you a sense of fulfillment. It’s a great way to take care of your own mental health as you develop a more optimistic outlook and reflect on the differences you’ve made. As a whole, we can have faith that the virus will subside in the end, and our efforts will prevail. It all starts with you. Here. Now. 

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