The coronavirus pandemic has effected so many aspects of our daily lives, and now we all must to do our part to protect ourselves and each other. To fight the spread of the virus, the governor’s “stay-at-home” order is in place through April 6. This unprecedented effort is to help save lives and alleviate the strain on our health care system. Hoosier families and businesses are resilient and patient, but Indiana’s leaders understand the need for Hoosiers to get back to work as soon as possible. In the meantime, please consider opportunities to support your local community and neighbors.
Here are five ways Hoosiers can help:
Contribute To Your Local Food Bank
Aside from making cash donations, consider reaching out to local food banks to see what can be done to help others in the community. Many organizations rely on retirees to keep their shelves stocked and doors open, but older citizens are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Local charities are facing a growing need for both supplies and volunteers. If you are working age and in general good health, consider volunteering for a local food bank. These organizations are more vital than ever, providing not only food, but also household items like cleaning supplies, diapers and personal care products. They have plans in place for preventing the spread of the virus like making to-go boxes of food and coordinating drive through stations. Visit Feeding America’s website to find a food bank near you, and please contact them directly to see what they need and how you can help.
Check In With Neighbors
Consider checking-in with elderly neighbors by phone or via social media. Picking up groceries for others is a great way to help, just be sure to leave the items at a secure location, like a porch, in order to limit contact. Others may need help walking their dogs. In some neighborhoods, children are using their front porches as a safe location to play music, put on skits or host shows. There are many ways to help our neighbors, and perhaps build some new relationships along the way.
The American Red Cross is reporting severe blood shortages since the pandemic took hold, putting many patients at risk. If you are in good health and not feeling sick, visit RedCross.org/Indiana or call 1-800-RED-CROSS and schedule a blood donation. The organization has safety protocols in place to protect donors, volunteers and workers from potential exposure.
Support Local Businesses
Only essential services remain open to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but there are ways to help small businesses and their employees. While dining rooms in Indiana are temporarily closed, restaurants and breweries can still offer carryout and delivery options. Check out Visit Indiana’s guide on statewide, low-contact carryout and delivery options, for a list of restaurants offering these services and guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus. Be sure to check local business websites and social media accounts for specifics on delivery and curbside options, and consider purchasing gift cards and contributing to fundraisers to help.
Sew And Donate Face Masks
According to Indiana hospitals, orders for standard/disposable masks are on long back-orders, due to both demand and supply chain issues. While fabric masks are not to be used in the care of COVID-19 patients, according to the CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. Fabric masks can also be helpful in other areas of patient care as supplies of personal protective equipment are depleted. Follow these instructions on how to make face masks. Organizations that need masks can also request them through the Deaconess database connecting individuals and companies for this important effort. Physicians in Northwest Indiana started the Masks for NWI Healthcare Workers Facebook group encouraging citizens to sew face masks and donate them.
As we all do our part to combat this public health crisis, it is crucial to remember we’re all in this together. Helping fellow Hoosiers not only provides a much-needed lifeline to those facing difficulties, but it also strengthens communities and forges new connections among neighbors.
For a list of resources and the latest information on what Indiana is doing to address the coronavirus, visit IN.gov/Coronavirus.