For the past six weeks our family has sheltered at home to stay safe during the COVID-19 global pandemic. My wife’s in the high risk immunosuppressive group due to her multiple sclerosis, so the family has rallied around to stay home to protect her. However, we have wanted to do more to support our neighbors, the community, and society during this time. We don’t work in health care and cannot sew masks, so how can we help? I’ve decided that each week I’ll make a donation to charity. I’m saving a little money by not having to fill my car with gas each week, not getting haircuts, and this will be our family’s opportunity to give back. Here are some examples of how we have decided to help.
In mid-March, right before the “safer at home” order went into affect, I noticed more and more empty shelves at the grocery store.
At that point I decided that I would purchase of bag of canned goods and staples to donate to our local food pantry. It wasn’t a large investment of my grocery shopping, but I’ve made a few donations over the course of the pandemic.
I also plan on donating to Foodlink, an organization dedicated to addressing food insecurity in low-income communities. With schools currently closed, many school-age kids are missing opportunities to get breakfast and lunch each day. For every $1 donated to Foodlink, $0.96 goes directly to anti-hunger programs in our local community.
Speaking of those haircuts we’re missing, since we moved to Rochester, NY, our family has had one person cutting, styling, and coloring our hair. She has watched our daughters grow up, and styled their hair for proms, graduations, and more. In early April, our hairdresser’s house caught fire displacing the family at a time when everyone’s supposed to be “safer at home.”
We contributed to the GoFundMe Campaign set up to support their family, and remembered, once again, how lucky we are to have steady income, a roof over our head, and more. Fires, floods, disasters, and even other illnesses like cancer do not stop just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for other members of our community struggling during this time.
Some of our favorite local museums and nonprofits are hurting without the revenue they receive from visitors and events. In Rochester, NY places like the Strong National Museum of Play, Eastman Museum, Rochester Museum & Science Center, artists, and performers have all lost their income streams. Therefore, we joined as members of Genesee Country Village & Museum in order to “keep history alive.” This museum has had a huge impact on our family. Both of our daughters attended camp there, and our oldest works as an interpreter in the Village.
Of course national charities are hurting too, and #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of unity and support for nonprofits on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in response to the impacts created by COVID-19. One of the charities I work with, Give Kids The World, has been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic. Each month Give Kids The World is closed, over 700 children and families remaining waiting for their wish to be fulfilled. On #GivingTuesdayNow, Give Kids The World will be hosting an 8-hour live event starting at 1:00pm ET to share hope to those families waiting for wishes and raise funds for the Village.
Donations or memberships to museums and nonprofits help to support organizations doing good work, the staff, and the long-term financial health of these community institutions.
Finally, many of our favorite local restaurants, breweries, and businesses continue to be open for delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick-up at a safe, social distance. As much as we can, we are maintaining our Friday night pizza order, occasionally treating the family to a take-out dinner, and supporting our local micro-breweries.
What else can we do to help? What ways are you finding to support charities, neighbors, and your community. Our friends at Visit Rochester said it well when they put together this inspirational video.
The sun continues to rise,
Flowers will continue to bloom,
Neighbors continue to care for one another.
When the time is right, we will emerge.
We will rise again.