How to help locally with coronavirus preparations


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Coronavirus concerns are on everyone’s mind. One of the most important questions that looms large is how we can help each other. How can we each make a difference?

Many people have families, friends, neighbors, the clubs and religious groups as a robust front-line support system. However, there are other people who do not have a support network and who will need help.

Here are some ideas on what you can do to help.

Organize a local support group

Create a local neighborhood support circle and write down the names of people, their addresses, phone numbers, email and social media. 

Call on seniors, people who live alone, families with elderly or small children, or people with learning or physical disabilities. 

Adopt a neighbor

Look for vulnerable people. Check on people regularly. Stay aware of their situation.  Ask them what they need.

Make contact now, especially with people who are in a high-risk category, who might be in need or do not have a healthy caregiver. Offer to assist with normal day-to-day tasks that become difficult if someone gets sick. Like moving garbage pails to the curb and grabbing the mail.

Consider cooking extra food and bringing pre-cooked meals for families in which everyone or the main caregivers are sick. Practice doorway and porch delivery.

Volunteer

Many organizations are looking for volunteers, especially students and young people, to help provide additional capabilities during the next four to six months. 

If you are healthy, send them an email, contact them through their websites or social media pages, or call them and offer them help.

Donate to the food banks, homes, shelters

Food banks will accept canned goods and unopened packaged goods not yet expired.  They also will welcome financial donations.

If you have extra supplies at home, consider building a care package. Things in short supply include: hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, soaps, rags, tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, sponges, mops, plastic or latex gloves, buckets, soaps, laundry detergent and disinfectant.

If you have extra new bottles of cold medicines. these also will be provided to those in need.

Some of the organizations are instituting procedures for remote drop off of donations and drive through pickup of care packages. Pay attention to new procedures to reduce the risk of face-to-face exposure.

Home delivery/store pickups

Most of the major local grocery stores and chains offer online shopping with both in-store pickup and home delivery options.  InstaCart (Instacart.com) and Rosies App (RosiesApp.com) have websites that can be searched by location to identify the participating stores in the local area.

If you know of a home-bound, less than capable, self-quarantined person or family, volunteer to go and pick up their purchases and deliver it to them. Use your phone to make porch and doorway deliveries to reduce the risk of face-to-face exposure.

Deep clean and disinfection everywhere

As an extra precaution, clean anything that people can touch frequently.  Disinfect often-touched surfaces such as counters, chairs, phones, door handles, keypads, TV remote controls, kitchen and stovetops, desks and restroom surfaces.

Place a spray bottle and disposable paper wipes with disinfectant in your car. If you are out and about, wear gloves and wash commonly touched surfaces (doorbells, door handles, railings) before and after you touch them. 

Get in this habit: Clean. Touch. Clean again. Everything. Everywhere. Every time. Everyone. 

Get outside

Event and school cancellations and travel restrictions are going to drive people inside. One of the best ways to de-stress and increase social distancing is to get outside.