While the country weathers the COVID pandemic cooped up at home, it can be difficult to maintain the sense of community that makes Marion County such a great place to live. But just because we can’t go out doesn’t mean we can’t reach out. There are plenty of ways philanthropic-minded individuals and families can support the community while maintaining social distancing and obeying stay-at-home orders. Here are some ideas!

A woman working from home.1. Stay at home

This may be the most frustrating and counter-intuitive entry on this list, but staying at home and only leaving the house for absolute essentials is key to protecting vulnerable members of our community—and shortening the time we all have to stay indoors! Elderly and immunocompromised people are especially at risk for COVID-19 complications. Staying at home to avoid exposing them to the virus can and will save lives. Sitting at home binge watching The Office for the umpteenth time might not feel very heroic, but trust us, it is!

Cans of chicken noodle soup.2. Donate to local food banks

The economic shutdown resulting from the pandemic is hard on everyone, especially those in our community who were barely making ends meet before the country was shuttered. Resources like food banks are critical for helping at-risk families survive during this difficult time. Visit the First Step Foodbank Facebook page, where you can find information about which pantries are still open, and how to safely donate.

A tower of toilet paper.3. Avoid hoarding

While it may be tempting to go full hurricane mode when shopping for essentials, the COVID pandemic is a bit different. Essential services like shipping and food production haven’t stopped, so the only way grocery stores will run out of food is if people stockpile when they don’t need to. Shop as you need so that there’s enough to go around for everyone.

A girl learning at home.4. Support our local Boys and Girls Clubs

Boys and Girls Clubs provide programs to families and children that are an immense help during times like these, including grocery assistance, free lunches while schools are closed, and virtual education support. Your donation can help our local Boys and Girls Clubs continue to enrich the lives of children during the pandemic and beyond. Find out more about how you can help! 

Homemade masks5. Sew Masks

Mask-wearing in public is an important part of “flattening the curve” and protecting our neighbors. While medical science is divided on whether homemade masks are effective at preventing you from catching the COVID virus, they can prevent asymptomatic people and carriers from spreading it to others. If you’ve got idle hands (and who doesn’t right now?), you might consider making masks for your family, friends, and neighbors. If you’re really feeling productive, you can make extras to donate to assisted living facilities, shelters, and medical centers. Get instructions on how to make your own masks!

French fries and Ketchup.6. Support local restaurants

Restaurants, eateries, and breweries have been some of the hardest-hit local businesses during the pandemic. But social distancing doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite spots! Instead of shuttering completely, many places are still offering take-out only menus to stay afloat until they can open for regular business. Purchases of gift cards, gift certificates, and merchandise are also a much-needed source of income for restaurants right now. So give your favorite local restaurant a call and support your community by chowing down!

A man donating money.7. Give to United Way

United Way of Marion County has partnered with the Chamber and Economic Partnership to establish a fund both for people in our community on unpaid leave as well as small businesses that are struggling. Your donation can help maintain and grow jobs in the community, and ensure that our local businesses return stronger than ever. Learn more about United Way’s work with the CEP and how you can help!

Looking for more ways to still be active in the community from home? Contact the Showcase team! We can connect you with local resources, charities, and programs that need all the help they can get right now. Thank you for joining us in continued commitment to making Marion County the place to love where you live!