There’s plenty to be pessimistic about in 2020. But there are things that you can, and should, do to keep your community strong while the world falls apart around our ears.
“Fifteen days to slow the spread” has turned into nine months, now going on forever.
Shut everything down—every pub, gym, restaurant, and corner store (liquor stores and big businesses may remain open). Only leave the house for essential reasons. No gatherings of any kind, and oh, cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas while you’re at it. Thanks.
Many small businesses and workers are buckling or on the brink as a result of mandated lockdowns. Chances are you know some of them. While some of your neighbors are busy hoarding toilet paper and PPE, others are wondering how they can help their communities during this insane time. But what can one person do? It may feel hopeless.
Don’t be cynical.
There are things that you can, and should, do to support your neighbors—even if you think it won’t make a difference. In fact, it’s your civil duty to do so. Chances are, others have also realized it, and it could save the livelihoods, or even the lives, of those who are struggling to stay afloat.
Here are just five, to name a few:
Shop small. Spend more.
Next time you’re planning a grocery run to Safeway or Walmart, remember your neighborhood corner store, and make a point of dropping by. Don’t just think about it. Do it. They need the business a lot more, so try to fit them into your basic shopping routine. Find out what they’re stocking that you need. Adapt and be willing to pay the higher price for supporting your neighbor. If everyone did this, it might mean one less stall getting boarded up.
Do you have a favorite local restaurant? Why not treat yourself and your family to takeout a few times more each week?
Don’t skimp, either. If you have the means, loosen up the purse strings this Holiday season.
Give to panhandlers.
I usually don’t recommend this, as addiction is a huge problem. Yet, many ordinary folks have been placed in dire straits artificially due to no fault of their own.
That man you see holding a sign standing outside the supermarket, slip him a $10. He has three kids and can’t find work to make ends meet. The look in his face will speak volumes, even if he’s too proud to say it. Imagine what kind of Christmas they’ll be having.
Give him the benefit of the doubt during this crazy time.
He’ll say “God bless you” and “Merry Christmas” afterward from the bottom of his heart—trust me, I know.
Be thankful, not wantful.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a job, a warm place to sleep, food on the table, money to make ends meet, and even the luxury of patronizing your favorite shops and restaurants, be thankful instead of being wantful. Switch your perspective around: the glass is half full, not half empty. By helping others get what they need instead of yourself getting what you desire, it puts the world in perspective. Your heart will feel full, and desires will be few.
Donate to a good cause.
Make a Christmas donation toward a charity that is working to make the world a better place. If you don’t trust UNICEF or the Red Cross (I absolutely wouldn’t blame you), give to a reliable charity of your choice. You’ll see them standing outside your local grocery stores.
But most importantly, stay united, not divided.
While out shopping for gifts and essentials, there are bound to be neighbors coping with fear, stress, and anxiety about what’s happening in the world around them. All of the doom and gloom blaring on TV is more than the average person can deal with. I have seen instances of anger and aggression between grocery store customers divided on matters as minute as mask wearing or walking the wrong way down a store aisle.
Be the peacekeeper.
Make up your mind before you go out to refrain from pouring fuel on the flame. If someone confronts you with something they disapprove of, if it’s none of their business, simply walk away instead of giving them a piece of your mind. Remember: divided we are weak; united we are strong.
As a community, compassion and tolerance for one another are our greatest wealth.