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How to Lend a Hand to Help Others during this Difficult Time

Posted 30 March 2020
by Gordan Stokes

In times of great uncertainty, and with considerable disruption to everyday life, it can be easy to turn inwards.  Our focus is our own and our family’s immediate needs and less focused beyond that tight group.  This is perfectly understandable.  However, not everyone is in the fortunate position of having immediate family support and they too need our help.  In my experience when times are harder, most people will be keenly aware of others less fortunate and will want to help.  Whether they be the elderly neighbour or a friend who needs support as they work in a high stress job. 

Giving and helping others can take many forms.  It can be simply donating time or money to a charitable cause or more directly work with an organisation as a volunteer.  Or it could be buying extra groceries for our busy friend or neighbour.  Support doesn’t even have to be tangible but can come through social media.  Such an example might be setting up a community Facebook page where members of the community can interact and keep each other informed.  Our street has recently started a page and it is remarkable how helpful it is.  We are fortunate in that we have close knit street but even if we weren’t, this approach would be ideal to forge links particularly during difficult and unusual times.  I will list other ways that you can lend a hand during this difficult time. 

NOTE: In whatever you do always be mindful of guidelines on staying healthy and avoiding exposure to Covid-19.

  1. As mentioned above use whatever method you can to stay in touch with people and establish a community resource that everyone can reasonably access.  Stay in touch with neighbours, some will feel awkward but if you explain it is important to you that they are OK, it makes it a little easier.  Regular touch points will be useful for all concerned.  Even just a regular chat can do wonders.
  2. Explore opportunities to formally volunteer your time.  There are many services, charities, and organisations who will welcome your help.  And this isn’t just limited to times where are battling a pandemic.  Many organisations have on their websites areas for volunteers to register.  Seek.com.au runs a volunteer service that you can use to volunteer in a particular field.  As of writing there is a section on the website devoted to those volunteering in areas affected by Covid-19.  As our hospitals respond to the pandemic there are voluntary and casual opportunities to help in clerical or support roles.
  3. It is worth noting that you can volunteer at home.  Phone or video-based support is very important and can be done from home.
  4. Other ways to help may be of a more practical nature.  For example, you might offer to take in a friend’s pet for a while, or to do some home chores, or offer equipment to those who need them (be mindful of proper precautions around interactions with neighbours and acquaintances) 
  5. In all instances don’t be afraid to ask the question and help where you can.  The giving of help is as rewarding as the receiving and will always make a difference. 

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