6 Community Support Ideas for Emotional Health
By Jennifer Carr and Gina Rubel
It is widely known that there are many benefits to community service. In addition to learning new skills and making new friendships, volunteering is known to make people feel happier and healthier as well as fostering an increased sense of social responsibility.
In the legal industry, for example, there are many opportunities to provide pro bono work. In fact, several years ago, the American Bar Association published an article by attorney, Emily J. Kirk regarding the benefits of pro bono work. However, there are many other types of community outreach and support that anyone with an interest or various resources can provide.
While many may think of community service as painting schools, building playgrounds or hosting a clothing drive, there are many ways to make a positive impact in the world in accordance with the current social distancing rules and even more that can be done without even leaving your home.
Here are just a few ideas.
- Sew masks: Hundreds of positive stories are popping up across the U.S. about people sewing masks to mobilize against coronavirus. Forbes published a call to people who sew to help make masks for the 2020 healthcare workers’ PPE shortage. Thank you to those in Boston, Minnesota, Chicago, Ohio, and around the world for taking part in this incredible effort.
- Give blood: Red Cross blood donation locations are popping up all over the country. If you are healthy and able, go to redcross.org to sign up.
- Donate to the local food pantry: Many articles have highlighted the need for food so that no one goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Encourage your companies and employees to search for local pantries and provide support. If there are no pantries in your area, national organizations such as Feeding America are taking donations. For our readers in the Philadelphia area, check out this list from PhillyVoice: Philly-area food banks looking for volunteers, donations as coronavirus crisis plays out. And for our hyper-local readers, consider contacting the Bucks County Housing Group which operates food pantries in our neck of the woods. Temporary protocols are listed on their website at bchg.org
- Use your 3D printer: If you have access to a 3D printer, you can support your local medical professionals by printing pieces for ventilators and face shields. Individuals, student groups and businesses throughout the world have stepped up to fundraise and create personal protective equipment (PPE) to help with the shortage that medical facilities are facing.
- Virtual Volunteering: By using a volunteer matching website such as VolunteerMatch or Catchafire, you can match your skills to one of hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities worldwide. This is a great way to offer your expertise and make an impact in a cause area you are passionate about such as health and medicine, children and youth, education, and more.
- Exercise for a Cause: If you are a fitness enthusiast or are looking for motivation to get into a regular routine, several apps such as Charity Miles or Walk for a Dog will donate to a charitable organization of your choice for every mile you walk, run or bike.
In times of crisis, many of us find ourselves wondering how we can help those in need or most affected. By volunteering time or skills, we not only make an impact in our community but we reduce the effects of stress, anger, or anxiety that people all over the world experience during times of crisis.
For more coronavirus resources, please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis & PR Resource Center.