Few things are more humbling than shopping in a grocery store filled with bare shelves.
Just a few short weeks ago, we were going about our days as usual. We were driving to work, wishing we could have slept in. We were making travel plans to visit our grandparents out of state. We were meeting our friends for coffee and hugging them hello and goodbye. We were going to the grocery store without fear that there would be bare shelves where the toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and baby formula had been. Suddenly, many of us realized these items were no longer available at our disposal, they'd become a luxury.
Unfortunately, going without is an all-too-familiar state for millions of humans and, for others, this crisis has been a lesson in humility. As the days of social distancing turn to weeks, it only becomes clearer that, even if we’re not in the same place, we are all human and we are all connected. What affects one of us can affect all of us, so kindness, empathy, and understanding matter now more than ever.
We talk to a lot of humans and the majority of us are feeling stir crazy by now. Some of us feel helpless, some lonely, some anxious, some all of the above. It’s uncomfortable, but it is absolutely crucial that we stay home for now. But staying home doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make a positive impact and contribute love and kindness to the world in this moment of crisis. If there ever were a perfect time to do good, it’s now. And not only will doing good help others, but using this time to contribute in any way is the pick-me-up you need. When we are of service, we find purpose and fulfillment.
So what can you do? Well, you’re kind of already doing it.
The beauty of a society so immersed in technology is the power you have literally in the palm of your hand. Your phone or other device is an incredible tool that can help you connect and share kindness across the world.
Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 text service for humans in crisis. Crisis could mean a lot of things, but self harm, anxiety, trauma, and abuse are common reasons for contacting a crisis counselor, but a crisis can also be a need for human connection. Crisis Text Line volunteers complete a 30-hour virtual training program to learn such skills as reflective listening, collaborative problem solving, and crisis management. Even if you can’t volunteer, simply sharing or donating to this organization is doing good. crisistextline.org
Translators Without Borders is a non-profit organization that offers language and translation support for global agencies and other non-profit organizations. The only requirement to be a translator is that you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language. Translators Without Borders is working to create “A world where knowledge knows no language barriers.” translatorswithoutborders.org
The Chemo Angels program provides support to those battling a cancer diagnosis and undergoing IV chemotherapy or intensive immunotherapy treatment. Chemo Angels Volunteers support their “buddy” through the chemo-treatment journey with cards, uplifting messages, supportive words, and lots of positive energy. There are different levels of volunteer commitment, so even if your time is limited, you can still be of service to a patient in need of love and encouragement. chemoangels.com
From social media outreach to proofreading to healthcare research, the United Nations always has a need for generous humans to donate their time and skills from anywhere in the world. Using the Online Volunteering portal allows you to search through dozens of ways you can contribute to peace and development on a global scale. onlinevolunteering.org
Raise money or coordinate your own supply donation.
We’re amazed at all of the creative ways humans have rallied to help during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. We’ve seen breweries making hand sanitizer to donate to hospitals. We’ve seen virtual tip jars organized for the community of service industry workers. We’ve seen individual humans volunteering to make lunches for children in their communities who count on school-provided breakfast and lunch to survive. We’ve seen restaurants offering free meals for kids, as well. It could be as simple as ordering delivery (or a gift card) from a local restaurant you love to help them pay their rent and keep the doors open, pre-paying your hair stylist for the appointment you had to reschedule, or sharing someone else’s fund with your social circle. If you’re unsure how you can help, reach out. We’d love to hear from you and would love to talk about virtual volunteering.
We may be separated by proximity now, but none of us are alone. We are all in this together and while times are scary and uncertain, we have to remember that this too shall pass. Keep doing what you can while you can. Stay home, stay connected, and stay well. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, so let’s focus on the good we can do today.