How to Help Your Local Community Without Leaving Your Home

Singapore Nov 17, 2020

Safely isolating at home? Here’s how you can lend a helping hand to those who might be struggling.

As the number of coronavirus cases worldwide continues to grow, everyone from business owners and cabbies to the chronically ill and elderly have been affected. For those of us who are lucky enough to work from home, there’s no better time to offer some aid - in any form - to those in need.

We might be sequestered at home and practising safe distancing now, but there are ways we can support our community and those who might be hit hard by this pandemic. Here’s how.

Support local businesses

Open shop
Photo by Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

With the closure of bars and entertainment centres, as well as bans on large gatherings, many F&B businesses are struggling to stay afloat. And with more people taking their grocery shopping and food orders online, smaller local businesses like provision shops and restaurants have to rely on reliefs from landlords, and even then, many of them are taking a huge financial hit.

Major chain stores will most likely be able to weather this storm, but smaller businesses might not. We can support these businesses during this trying period by shopping locally. Pick up groceries, toiletries and other essentials at your local grocery store instead of major retailers. (But please, whatever you do, do not stockpile goods. Hoarding can lead to a shortage of vital resources for at-risk communities, such as those who are immuno-compromised.)

For non-essentials like nail and hair salons, facial spas and cafes, purchase gift certificates that you can use in the future. You can also support local gyms by taking their online classes. Check with your local businesses to see if there are ways you can continue to patronise them or donate to them.

Keep an elderly company

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Photo by Jasmine Quek.
Photo by BBH Singapore / Unsplash

Now that many nursing homes have closed their doors to visitors, a lot of elderly folk there are feeling extra lonely without regular visits from their loved ones. Speak with these nursing homes to see if you can video call and keep an elderly company.

Those living alone might also require some assistance getting through their day-to-day. If you have at-risk friends or neighbours (including those with severe chronic illnesses), check in with them to see if you can offer some support like grocery shopping for them or order them food.

Support the arts

Help keep an artist's dream alive.

With performances and concerts cancelled, the arts sector has also been hit hard. Many arts practitioners are freelancers who might be struggling to get by now. Instead of asking for a refund to a cancelled performance, consider donating to the organisation instead.

Offer your help here:
SISTIC Singapore

Make a donation or two

Change for Change
Photo by Kat Yukawa / Unsplash

There are many international and local organisations that help to provide essential resources to families and individuals who might be economically disadvantaged in this period. The most straightforward way to help is by making a donation, but you can also check with your local homeless shelters and food banks to see what other resources they may require that you can help provide.

Offer your help here:
Foodbank Singapore
Charitable Choice Hong Kong
Second Harvest Japan

Volunteer for a helpline

Photo by Quino Al / Unsplash

In times like this, it’s no surprise that anxiety levels will soar. And now that almost everyone is isolated, it can be harder for some to reach out to their support groups. If you’re qualified, you can sign up to be a Samaritan and offer a listening ear to those who need help. Otherwise, there's always the video-call option to check in on those who need emotional support In your community.

Offer your help here:
Lifeline Australia
Samaritans of Singapore

Ease the load for healthcare workers

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and your community.

Public health experts have been urging people to stick to cautionary measures to quell the spread of the virus, and one of the easiest ways is to practise social distancing. So stay home, follow the guidelines on social distancing, restrictions for self-quarantine, and observe stay-home notices.

Work from home as much as possible, avoid group gatherings, crowds and public events, and keep at least 1m away from one another wherever possible. Social distancing helps us reduce the chances of local transmissions, thus helping to reduce the toll on our healthcare system and healthcare workers.

And if you are sick, definitely stay home and avoid contact with others, wear a mask, and always observe good hygiene practices.

Stay safe and look out for one another!

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