In many ways, COVID-19 has been tearing communities apart by keeping people inside and away from their friends and neighbors. But in other ways, the ongoing global pandemic has brought us closer together. Many people are helping their neighbors in little ways—checking in, doing the grocery shopping, and running other errands.
If you want to do more to help your community, you’re in luck. There are ways to give back this summer that are fun and help to bring you closer to the people around you. If you’re looking for some fulfilling activities during the hot weather, here are some ideas.
1. Establish a Community Bake Off & Food Drive
One of the easiest ways to connect right now is through food. While many people are passing the time in quarantine by getting creative in the kitchen, others are struggling with food insecurity. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, issues like food deserts and the inability to afford healthy options are becoming more common, and it’s important for communities to rally and ensure that no one goes hungry.
Why not indulge your creativity for a good cause? You can organize a community bake-off and pair it with a food drive to help those in need. Recruit some bakers and put together some packages of goodies to sell. Then, donate the proceeds to your local food pantry. It’s a win-win! Plus, except for pickup and delivery, you can organize everything online.
2. Get Friends Together & Volunteer At a Homeless Shelter
The homeless population has been one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. While people who are high risk probably should donate their time in other ways, low-risk people can make a huge difference in their communities by volunteering at a homeless shelter. Get your friends on board and help out even more!
In addition to being at risk for contracting the disease, thanks to crowded shelters and lack of ability to distance, many homeless people are unable to advocate for themselves and may struggle with mental health disorders and chronic physical ailments. Communication is key when working with the homeless population because it’s important to build trust and to understand the full picture of what someone has been through.
By volunteering, you can bring some dignity and care into the lives of people who are subject to stigma and lack of empathy, in addition to the challenges of living out in the elements.
3. Help a Pet in Need By Helping a Shelter
Many people are having trouble feeding their pets during the pandemic. While more people are adopting animals during the pandemic, there are also probably lots of people in your community who are struggling with bills and may need to give their pets up if they can’t pay their expenses. You can help by asking local shelters how you can help!
Some shelters are having volunteers call grocery stores about pet food donations, or need people to transport food to the families that need it. While many shelters don’t need new foster families or animal caretakers at the moment, they do need help in supporting pets in the community so they don’t end up in the shelter.
4. Help Others Relax By Organizing a Community Yoga Session
Are you an enthusiastic yogi? If so, then why not introduce your neighbors to the benefits of your practice? Hosting a community yoga session can help you support the mental and physical health of the people around you and bring people in your neighborhood together.
In some areas, you might be able to host a community yoga session outdoors safely. In others, it might be safer to do the session over video chat. Regardless of the format, however, yoga is a great way to bring people together!
5. Clean Up the Community With Your Pets
If you have a dog, then you already have a reason to go on daily walks. Why not serve your community at the same time? Your morning stroll is a great time to give back by picking up trash and making your community cleaner and safer.
It’s super easy to get started with this project. All you need is a trash bag, some gloves, and a good work ethic! It’s also a great activity to do with friends since it’s outdoors and socially distanced. Take a different route every day and see what you can do!
There are so many ways to give back, whether you’re high risk and have to help from home or you can don your face mask (check this guide on which ones to wear best!) and get out into the community. Make it fun and help to bring everyone together!