During this time of crisis, the most important thing we can do is stay home, practice social distancing and of course, wash our hands. Everyone is experiencing this pandemic differently and it is difficult for all of us; but some members of our communities are especially vulnerable and in need of help. With the chaos and disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s easy to feel isolated and powerless. But the truth is we all have the power and ability to help others in our community who are struggling. Here are 4 ways you can help. 1. Check in on your family, neighbors and friends Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Make sure to check in on your loved ones via phone calls, video calls, and texts. This allows you to stay in touch and make sure they have everything they need – plus it’s good for your mental health to connect with people as you stay home and practice social distancing. For your neighbors, especially older adults and vulnerable populations, make sure they have everything they need. Help them minimize their need to leave their homes. If they need groceries, supplies, or essential errands to be run, consider helping them. Always remember to follow the guidelines set forward by Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health . 2. Become a virtual volunteer While we are practicing social distancing and staying at home, now is a great time to engage in virtual volunteering. Virtual volunteering allows you to volunteer away from the physical site of an organization, project, or campaign. Virtual volunteers work online and provide their services to support a cause that is important to them. Nonprofit and community organizations need your help now more than ever and many are offering virtual ways to help. There are many ways to find virtual volunteer opportunities. - Reach out to an organization important to you or to a volunteer connector organization in your community. - Points of Light has a comprehensive list of virtual volunteering opportunities. - Dosomething.org has a great blog post about virtual volunteering with resources to get involved. - Youth Service America has great resources for youth volunteering from home individually or with your family. 3. Donate to a nonprofit Some organizations are overwhelmed right now and they will need additional resources to address the needs in the communities they serve. Consider supporting these organizations with a donation. Organizations that address basic needs will be especially hard hit such as food banks and pantries, homeless shelters, meals on wheels and other senior programs, and organizations that help at-risk and vulnerable populations. Reach out to your local United Way for additional information on ways to give. 4. Follow the guidelines recommended by the experts One of the best ways to help is one of the simplest. Listen to the experts and do what they are asking to avoid the spread of COVID-19. We all need to wash our hands, stay home whenever possible, and stay informed with current and valid information. The best sources of information are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health . Stay safe and healthy and remember – we’re all in this together.