As the news of the cornavirus continues to unfold, I find myself wanting to help but not knowing what to do. In many ways, I feel like I’ve gotten off easy in all of this. I have my whole crew home. The gazillions of activities have been canceled. And I’m checking things off my home-project list left and right. Not so bad for AMS.
But I know this isn’t the case for most people, so I want to put this gift of time to good use. Here are a few ideas that I want to share.
From everything I’m reading, our national blood banks are at an all-time low. And although it will break the “stay-at-home” guideline to visit a donation center, I think this is one of those exceptions.
I googled local donation centers and found that Vitalant was the website to find the nearest donation centers to make an appointment. I just got back from donating blood at the Vitalant (former LifeSource) center in Lake Bluff, not far from Heinen’s. I’m so glad I went, I encourage all healthy people to do the same, but I do want to make a few notes:
- The Lake Bluff Center is understaffed. Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents have shown up in droves (of course, they have!), but it’s a lot for a small team to manage. It might be worth trying to go first-thing in the morning to avoid any crowds.
- While you can make an appointment online, it seemed as if the team today was taking people as they came in. There is no check-in system. The whole process took just over an hour for me.
- When I was waiting, I heard one staff member say that they were now going to have to take the temperatures of everyone as they enter the center. This wasn’t happening yet, but I have a hunch it will be soon.
- The incredibly professional staff was doing the best they could, but I know there will be potential blood donors who may see things that are not completely Covid-19-compliant. If you or an immediate family member is health-compromised in any way, I wouldn’t donate blood.
Helping Healthcare Workers
I was just told today how we can help our frontline heroes at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. This came from the hospital’s Office of Philanthropy.
“To respond to the outpouring of generosity, we have set up some guidelines and systems to both ensure that our healthcare staff can directly benefit from the donations, and that members of our community and our staff are following safe infection control standards.
First, in keeping with the current “shelter in place” order, we would welcome those in the community wishing to support our caregivers to consider making a donation to our COVID-19 Relief Fund or by donating to our Employee Assistance Crisis Fund.
Many individuals and organizations have offered to provide meals or non-perishable food to our staff. Since specific safety guidelines apply to these donations, we ask that you please contact Kelly Callen at Kelly.Callen@nm.org to review the guidelines and schedule a drop-off location, date and time. Food can be accepted by scheduled drop-off only. We can generally accept restaurant-prepared, individually wrapped food and most non-perishable items.
If you have other specific items you would like to donate, please first contact Marleana Cross at email@example.com to confirm the items can be used.“
Nearly all (if not all) outreach centers have had to close their doors to those who need their help most. In many cases, they’ve mobilized their limited staff to take on the heavy lifting. Most organizations are not accepting food and clothing donations at this time, but they’re in desperate need of funding. Please consider contributing if you can: Here is a list of places looking for donations. I tried to keep this list local and focused on those offering food and shelter to people in need (I’m happy to add others in this field…just let me know):
Also, please keep in mind that if you donate weekly to your church, please continue to do so. While all public masses are closed, much of the church outreach is continuing and needs our financial support. Additionally, so many not-for-profit organizations have their fundraisers in the spring and these have likely been cancelled. Be sure to keep them in mind, too.
Take Care of Your People
If you typically employ a nanny, dog walker, or housekeeper, continue paying them even though they’re no longer helping you. They count on us for their income and I know they will pay this forward when we’re on the other side of this pandemic.
Take Care of Your Pets
Not being an animal person, I forget that we have these four-legged friends that we need to watch over too. Here is a list of animal protective organizations that are looking for our help, too.
Send a Note
This is especially meaningful if you have little ones at home and need an activity. A number of nursing homes have their residents shelter in place in their rooms, which can be incredibly isolating. Handwritten notes and pictures are a welcome distraction for these seniors. I spoke with an activity director at a local nursing home who was over the moon about the possibility of homemade cards or potential pen pals for residents. Please let me know if you’re interested and I will connect you.
Support Small Business
I’ve written about this a lot over the last couple of days, but our small businesses need us now more than ever. I truly believe it’s our social responsibility to keep the small business economy moving during our stay-at-home time. Consider ordering carryout from your favorite eatery or send a gift from your favorite store.
Call A Loved One
I’m typically not a phone person (I prefer texting!), but with a little more time on my hands I’m changing my ways. Last weekend, I reached out to one of my favorite aunts who is in a nursing home in St. Louis and she told me it made her day. Think of at least one person you might do this for each week and see the difference you’ll make.
Stay At Home
Just one final plea: please stay at home. That is the only thing that will make this virus go away. I have four siblings on the frontlines of this virus (see photo above) and they can’t emphasize social distancing enough. Virtual playdates are the new hot thing for toddlers and teens, not to mention the fun tele-happy hours my friends are organizing. Let’s just do this so we can be done with this!
We’re going to beat this together! Keep your distance and wash your hands!