As we adjust to a new version of normal life, most of us are undoubtedly looking inward at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s up to us to also take a moment to look outward and be good neighbors. Fortunately, there are ways that you can support your community while also adhering to the health and safety guidelines that will help combat the spread of COVID-19. With that in mind, use these 10 ideas and guidelines to be the best neighbor you can be:
1. Get phone numbers for your neighbors – and use them to check in. If you don’t already have direct contact information for some or all your neighbors, now is the time to obtain them. Phone numbers will ensure that your immediate circle of neighbors can communicate quickly on a day-to-day basis.
2. Set up a community group online. If your neighborhood or building doesn’t already have a group on an app such as WhatsApp, Slack or Facebook, offer to help set one up and invite everyone to join. A community “in need of” list could be shared here as well, where people can request help with items or tasks they’re in need of.
3. Wave hello. Social distancing doesn’t mean “devoid of connection.” While walking to our neighbors’ doors and knocking isn’t advisable, we can still wave hello from our porches or while on a walk. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference in how we feel about the day ahead!
4. Offer to deliver groceries or necessities. If you’re headed to the store yourself, check in with neighbors that are high risk to see if you can bring them any groceries or necessities. Use recommended precautions to keep yourself safe – keep the kids at home if you can, wash your hands before & after and wipe down the cart when you hit the store. If possible, leave them on the front porch for your neighbor to bring inside themselves. You can also help your neighbors get set up with online grocery delivery services. You will want to check with your local grocery stores to see if they offer delivery or curbside pick-up. Services such as Instacart, Doordash, Walmart, Target, King Soopers, Safeway and Postmates, just to name a few. Did you know that amazon also has groceries? Check out Pantry and Wholefoods.
5. Donate blood. Local blood donation centers and hospitals need blood of healthy individuals now more than ever. Visit the Red Cross website to check your eligibility, find a nearby blood drive location or donation center, and make an appointment to give back to patients in need.
6. Offer your tech assistance to your neighbors. Right now, many tasks and errands are being completed online. That’s great for individuals who are used to ordering groceries and takeout on their phones, but some neighbors may not be as experienced in using apps and websites. With that in mind, offering to help someone navigate a website or to handle certain tasks online could make a big difference!
7. Support local businesses. Local businesses are the cornerstone of thriving communities. Now more than ever it’s important to show our love to local businesses, who are struggling to stay afloat during these challenging times. Consider buying gift cards to enjoy later, placing online orders through the store’s website, ordering food for takeout or delivery, and tipping workers more than usual.
8. When running, biking or walking, stay at least six feet away. We all need exercise and a breath of fresh air right now. When you do go outside, however, remember to adhere to social distancing guidelines – maintain a distance of six feet or more between you and anyone else enjoying the outdoors.
9. Keep your noise levels respectful. Chances are that you’ve seen videos of our international neighbors playing instruments from their balconies. We’re not saying you shouldn’t play music, but we are saying that if you do, you should be respectful of the time you do it. Remember that many people are currently working from home, and we all need to sleep sometime!
10. Freshen up your visible spaces for all to enjoy. Our homes and their appearance play a big role in how we feel. Working in your garden (once the weather stays warm) can create a beautiful space and also get you outside. Seasonal decorations are another great way to lift your community’s spirits, and they don’t even have to be timely! Whether you decorate for spring or for “Christmas in March,” or create sidewalk art for passersby, now is the time to build a space that makes your neighborhood smile.