How to make a difference in your community when you’re stuck at home

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So, you’re now home 24/7. We all have to adjust to new ways of living, and while you and your family’s own health and safety are first and foremost, there are ways to help others in your community. Our communities need to be strong and united, perhaps now more than in recent history.

There are many ways to help the community, and the level of commitment up to you. Here are five ways to make a difference in the community when you’re stuck at home, along with a bonus option.

#1: Help others who shouldn’t go out. By now, we all know there are people who should not be leaving their homes, no matter what. These people still need basic necessities and some human interaction. Whether it’s a neighbor, friend or family member, offer to help seniors or anyone with health problems or a disability.

You can start by going to the grocery store to get them basic necessities. You can also go beyond the scope of your neighborhood, social group and loved ones by reaching others in need. Find ways to donate to organizations helping ensure seniors get what they need. Search the internet for local opportunities.

Another method of helping those who can’t go out is through human interaction. You’d be surprised how much a simple phone call or email would mean to those who are housebound. These people may be longing for human interaction, or just really appreciate the sound of your voice or your kind words. And, who knows, it may just inspire them and bring each of you, and your community, closer together!

#2: Help young kids in need. The elderly or disabled aren’t the only ones in extra need during this time. According to new data by the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in six children in American live in poverty, with the number of poor children standing at a staggering 11.9 million. On top of that, kids facing serious medical conditions must go to the hospital – something that may be extra stressful and scary for families at this time.

You can look for ways to help these children in need by sending or gathering money, diapers, wipes and other essentials to a children’s charity of your choice. And, due to school closures, many children are also missing government-subsidized lunches; check with your local districts for opportunities to help.

#3: Donate to food banks. You can make a difference by donating food, money or toiletries to food banks. Find your local food bank at Feeding America, or check with your local churches and synagogues. Another way is to help is through the national 211 hotline page, or seek out the United Way’s 211 service to help in your specific area.

#4: Embrace local businesses. Local businesses are a key part of our communities. Different industries are facing unique challenges to stay in business and survive. This includes restaurants. While some have closed, there are still a good number open for takeout or delivery.

Restaurants aren’t the only industry affected by this crisis. Take the arts sector, for example. Theatre and concert cancellations are abundant; these entertainment options you might love could go away without your support. Consider making a donation, something extra to what you already do, or passing on a refund for a show you already paid for that got canceled.

In addition, Intuit® recently created the Small Business Relief initiative to help small businesses organize a GoFundMe campaign and support fundraisers. Check it out; there a lot of options and opportunities to help local businesses.

#5: Smile. If you are using Amazon to get some of the things you need, consider using Amazon Smile instead. You can find the same items at the same prices as on the standard website/app, but Amazon donates a small percentage of the purchase price of qualifying items to the charity of your choice. It’s a great way to continue supporting the organizations that are important to you, even if you can’t volunteer in person. 

Bonus: Donate blood. No matter what kind of environment we’re in, donating blood is still extremely important for saving lives. Yes, you’ll have to leave the house to do this, but check with your local blood bank or visit the American Red Cross website to find a blood drive near you. Even if you can’t give blood or don’t want to leave home, you can still make a donation or build support within the community.

Move forward with positivity and strength

This life-altering situation is difficult for all of us, and we can all make a difference by taking a little time to help those in need. How much you want to help or give is up to you. Either way, if more and more people get onboard, a little goes a long way.

 

Editor’s note: Visit the Intuit Accountant and Tax Professional COVID-19 Resource Center for information and tools to help you and your clients navigate these challenging times.

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