Depending on where you live, you have been following stay-at-home orders for a few weeks...or more. We've covered ways to keep moving while you are staying home and how to cope during the quarantine.
Now I want to cover how you can help others...if you are able.
Seriously, just stay the fuck home. We're stitchers...so stitch if you have the mojo to do so. I've heard several people say they have lost their stitching and crafting groove since this hit. That's OK, too, but just stay home. If not for yourself, for the others who you may encounter if you are unneccessarily out and about.
If you must go out, practice physical distancing, wear a mask, don't take, as a family friend used to say, "the whole fam damnly" with you. Respect others and especially respect the service workers who are risking their own health to make sure you have access to fresh food, medication, and other essentials.
And speaking of essentials -- I'm not going to tell you what is essential to you but think very carefully before choosing to go out for comfort items, including stitching supplies. For some, they can be essential because stitching helps soothe the effects of depression and anxiety. That's cool. Shopping for a new pair of earrings for yourself...can probably wait.
Support a Food Bank
In the last few weeks, unemployment in the U.S. has skyrocketed and the demand on social support systems has increased substantially, including food banks and free meal providers. If you are able, please consider donating money to a local service that supports those who are food insecure. Not only are the shelves and kitchens of these groups becoming more bare than they are comfortable with, they are facing huge decreases in donations from restaurants, which typically would donate leftover food but aren't open to do that any longer.
COVID-19 doesn't seem like the type of disease that puts stress on a healthcare facility's blood supply, but it is -- for a number of reasons: need for transfusions, fewer blood drives, fewer people coming out to donate blood. All of those factors reduce the inventory in blood banks. I read somewhere that community blood drives are the most effective way for blood banks to build their supply (don't quote me on that). Well, they aren't happening right now; most outreach to get blood donations has been paused indefinitely. To add to that challenge, many smaller communities don't have dedicated blood donation centers for people to visit. It's a perfect storm. Do what you are able to do: vIsit the NHS blood donation site (UK), American Red Cross (US), Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (AU), or Google your country's blood and/or plasma donation services to find a location to donate.
You may have heard of experimental treatments that use plasma from fully recovered COVID-19 patients to treat those still battling the virus. If you fall into the perameters set by your country's health service for the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program, please consider donating plasma. The links above will give you information about donating plasma, as well. Not sure about other countries, but both the U.K. and U.S. have companies that pay donors for plasma donations, which can help replace any income you may have lost due to business closures. One that comes to mind: BioLife.
Connect with Neighbors
This one hits home for me. My mother just turned 84 and she lives alone. Though I have a sibling, I'm my mother's main support person -- but I live 2,400 miles away from her. Not being able to be there for her scares the living shit out of me. I don't want her going out but if she needs something, she doesn't have family close by to help her. Long before the pandemic hit, probably because I'm a worrywort, I created a support network for my mom of her friends and neighbors so they could be my eyes and ears when I couldn't be physically present.
All that said, check in with your neighbors - yes, the people that you likely try to avoid every other time of the year. Mabye they are struggling to make ends meet. Maybe they are immunocompromised and can't go get food for risk of being exposed. Maybe they battle anxiety and depression and are having a hard time making sense of this unbelievable time. There are so many maybes but the bottom line is that we don't know if we don't ask. Sure, some people will brush you off but some may not and it may be the physically distanced contact they needed to get through this safely.
How do you do this without breeching physical distancing and without knowing phone numbers or email addresses? Get creative. Find something that is safely shared, put a note offering your assistance, and ring their doorbell. Consider a plant, hand sanitizer, a hand-made mask, or just a note. Remember what your nana always told you: It's the thought that counts.