Coronavirus has changed how we interact with each other - including volunteerism. While in-person volunteering may be limited at this time, there are still ways that you can support your community. Now more than ever, it's important to reach out. We may be socially distant, but that does not mean isolated!
Here are eleven ways you can give back during the Coronavirus pandemic:
1. Donate Blood
Our local blood center is in critical need of blood donations. There is no known risk to the safety of the nation’s blood supply except for lack of donations and there are no reports of the spread of this respiratory virus by blood transfusion. Giving blood is critical to ensure an adequate supply. Giving blood is an essential activity and is exempt from the Stay at Home order.
Appointments are required. Visit their website for more information.
2. Check-in on your neighbors and older adults
Call, do a walk by and wave, talk from a 6+ foot distance, teach them how to use FaceTime - no matter how you check-in, it's critically important to do so. It lifts the spirits, and you may find a way you can help - and make new friends.
3. Connect with local organizations
Follow local charities, plus Chambanamoms.com, the CU Public Health District, and Champaign County Emergency Management on social media. Needs are often posted on social media before they make their way onto websites - you'll be the first to know!
Additionally, SERVE Illinois is keeping a listing of in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities. Learn more on their website.
4. Join Family Service's Friendly Caller program
This is a new service to combat social isolation for seniors. Family Service, a local Champaign County nonprofit, is recruiting volunteers willing to call seniors and chat with them for 5-20 minutes. The timing is perfect as it's also a safe way to check on their health during COVID-19.
If you'd like to make calls, please contact the RSVP office at 217-359-6500.
5. Reach out to your friends
This is a tough time and we can often feel inundated by the news. Reach out to a friend and talk to them about anything other than Coronavirus. Social distancing doesn't need to be social isolation. Tough to coordinate schedules? Consider sending a good news filled email or writing a letter. It does help.
6. Organize look&see scavenger hunts in your neighborhood
We love this trend popping up all over social media. Pick a shape (hearts or stars are great!) and encourage your friends and neighbors to participate by putting out items in that shape, crafting and hanging in the window, sidewalk chalking, etc. Then take a walk around the neighborhood and see how many you can spot! Just be sure to look, not touch, the items.
7. Chalk Your Walk
Spread joy and kindness from afar! Chambanamoms.com invites you and your family to draw inspiring art and/or write encouraging messages on a nearby sidewalk or your driveway. Then take a walk, go for a bike ride, or even take a drive to check out the art around your neighborhood.
8. Send cards to nursing homes
Nursing homes across the state have enacted strict visitor restrictions and are canceling group activities. This is to keep our most vulnerable population healthy. Sending cards to nursing home residents is a great activity for kids and adults alike. Learn more at Chambanamoms.com!
9. Stock your nearest Little Free Library
Bring a few books to your neighborhood's little free library - and keep those libraries clean by stocking them with disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer! Find your nearest little free library online here.
10. Complete the Census
In early Spring you should have received Census information in the mail. Census data direct billions of dollars of funding into communities each year to support schools, roads, healthcare and so much more. Illinois is at risk of losing significant funding if we do not count everyone. Do your part while you’re at home and be counted.
11. Wear Your Mask
Wear it, don't share it! That's the buzz all around Champaign County. Wearing a face covering when in public - especially when indoors - is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19.