Life has been a whirlwind since we first heard the term COVID-19. Over a few short weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has posed profound health concerns and an array of challenges and disruptions, from cancelled events and school closures to supply shortages and financial uncertainty.
While we’re all feeling the effects in different ways and to different extremes, so many of us—fortunate to be in a position to give—are asking the same question: What can we do? We asked the community of Certified B Corporations what those who are able to are doing to make an impact while complying with current health regulations and best practices. Inspired by their stories and ideas, here are 10 ways that we can all get involved right now during the COVID-19 crisis:
Support a small business. Economic downturns hit small businesses the hardest, and there’s never been a better time to use our power as consumers to support the companies who need it the most. Remember small and mid-size businesses as you stock up on household supplies, and shop directly on their website whenever possible. Share your favourite small brands on social media. If your favourite business is currently closed, they may offer digital gift cards online that you can buy now and use later.
Volunteer virtually. The most vulnerable members of our communities are in greater need than ever, but volunteering has become much more complicated. Visit your favourite organization’s website to explore opportunities to give your time online, or send a monetary donation if you can.]
“COVID-19 has made it a bit difficult to organize events, to volunteer, and to make a meaningful impact while maintaining appropriate ‘social distance.’ The great news is that you can still volunteer! There are a ton of opportunities for anyone with a computer, internet and/or a phone that can be meaningful and done from home. I have put together a small top 10 list of things to do to volunteer while quarantined.” — Thomas Moran, Teadora
Be mindful at the grocery store. It’s an understandable urge to stock up during uncertain times, but it’s leading to shortages in grocery stores. Next time you go shopping, consider buying only the standard amount of food and essentials needed for your household and leave some behind for your fellow shoppers. Bear in mind that some families on public assistance, such as WIC and SNAP, can buy only program-eligible products and can’t be flexible with their purchases when shelves are empty.
Reallocate unused budgets to local charities. Since most offices have transitioned to working remotely, many teams will have unused budgets for supplies like snacks and cleaning products. Individuals may be spending less on parking, tolls, or public transportation. Reallocating those expenses to a charity of your choice is a great way to help people in need. “One way our office found we could support our local community is by using the grocery budget that we would be spending to stock our kitchen to donate food and cleaning products to a few of our local resource centers.” — Amber Owen, Altvia Solutions
Give blood. Due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations, the Red Cross is facing a severe shortage of blood to support patients in need of necessary surgeries. It is still safe for eligible and healthy donors to donate blood, and you can schedule an appointment online. Find a location near you.
Choose companies that give back. The B Corp community is built on a commitment to using business as a force for good, and they’re finding new ways to support their employees and give back to their communities during unprecedented challenges. Visit @bcorporation on Instagram to learn more.
“We will donate ALL PROCEEDS from orders placed through our website to @sheridanstory, an organization who for over a decade has helped food insecure school children fill the weekend food gap and who we feel is in the very best position to make a large and meaningful impact by serving the most vulnerable families during this uncharted time. Our goal is to help 500 families over the next month.” — Seven Sundays
Share your knowledge. If you have the time and resources to spare, consider offering your network a pro bono, informal consultation in your area of expertise — for example, tech recommendations for working remotely or project managing a remote team. Using the skills and knowledge you may take for granted, you might be able to help someone who is feeling overwhelmed or alone navigate through a difficult time.
Get takeout. The food and hospitality industries have been particularly shaken by the COVID-19 outbreak. But many are still open as essential businesses, and they need support to stay afloat. Conscious consumers are the backbone of resilient communities, so consider ordering a meal or coffee to go from one of your local spots. Visit their social media handles for service updates and ways to support.
“The last 10 days have been terribly painful for all of us. We have had to close a number of our restaurants and we are operating the remaining at a loss to be able to keep our team members employed and to continue to feed those that need it most. “As the reality of the situation sets in, many members of our communities will struggle with getting access to a healthy meal. We will be offering discount codes that can be used if you find yourself or someone you know in need of a healthy meal.” — Leslie and David Silverglide, MIXT
Check in on a neighbor. Check in on your neighbors who may need a helping hand, such as higher-risk individuals or parents at home with kids. You may be able to assist with a much-needed errand or a friendly smile.
Keep connecting. Human connection is a critical part of mental health, but physical distancing is keeping us all separated from friends, families, coworkers, and communities. Though it takes extra effort, it’s invaluable to create moments of social connection with the people in your personal and professional circles. We don’t know how long the COVID-19 period will last, but we know that we’re stronger together.
“Don’t forget to check in every day with your people (Slack and Zoom are great for this). Remote work can be lonely work, and mental health at this scary time is no joke. We usually train healthy social habits like scheduling time with friends and keeping our bodies healthy by spending time at the gym, but these things are more challenging now, so we are leaning more into creating community remotely with little fun quizzes and invitations to share about our lives — kids, pets, their walks outdoors.” — Michelle Hirons, HigherRing