2020 continues to be a surprising and difficult year, and 2021 won’t be without challenges. With so much out of our control, it feels good to be able to take action and make a positive impact. There are many ways you can give back to others and your community this holiday season and throughout the pandemic. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Air Wisconsin Airlines is not associated with any of the organizations listed below, and we recommend that you research any organization yourself before getting involved.
Check in with the people you care about.
Traditionally, the holidays mean large indoor gatherings, something the CDC suggests we avoid for the foreseeable future. Following CDC guidance is important to protect yourself and your loved ones, but unfortunately, it can be lonely. Maintaining vital connections creates a support system, which is especially beneficial when things get rocky, like during a pandemic. Talk and share a laugh with family and friends, just do it virtually or while social distancing. If you don’t have FaceTime, anyone can sign up for Zoom and use it for free; just know that the free version limits meetings to 40 minutes.
Donate items to nonprofit organizations.
If you discover that you have clothes your kids grew out of last year or household items you don’t use anymore, consider donating them. Remember that the needs of nonprofits may continue to change during the pandemic. Be sure to check their website to see what items they are accepting and what they really need right now.
Volunteer while following CDC preventive guidance.
Many nonprofits need volunteers year-round, like local food banks or Meals on Wheels. Contact nonprofits in your area and ask how you can help. Also, during the pandemic, it’s best to avoid unexpectedly showing up to volunteer as new guidelines or capacity limits may be in place.
Another idea is to volunteer virtually. For example, you could help blind and low vision people complete tasks through BeMyEyes.com. This service is free to blind and low vision people and relies on volunteers. All you need is a mobile device to sign up.
Help community members in need.
Want to help someone, but not sure who needs it? Check Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center to see who needs help in your area or outright offer help. Picking up groceries for a housebound neighbor and leaving them at the front door is an easy way to make a difference.
You can also check out the Nextdoor app to stay connected to what is going on in your area.
Thank health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers.
No one has seen how ugly and devastating this virus can be more than health care workers and first responders. These and other groups of essential workers keep our communities functioning despite the pandemic. Express your gratitude by:
- Recording a voice message of encouragement on the Health Hero Hotline by calling 877-226-4376.
- Recording a video with an uplifting message for someone who deserves it on your cell phone and uploading it to www.6ftcloser.com, a site encouraging recognition of everyday heroes.
- Visiting your local hospital’s Facebook page and website. See if they are requesting certain items to help support frontline workers or if they have a program in place for the public to send messages.
- Reaching out to essential workers you know and offering to drop off a meal, pick up groceries, or ask how to help them.
- Making a yard sign or sign for your window. Turn this into a fun activity for the kids.
- Being kind. Tensions can run high during times of stress. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can. Common courtesy goes a long way.
The biggest way you can help essential workers and the general public is by properly wearing a mask, social distancing, and following CDC COVID-19 preventive guidance. In doing so, you can alleviate the burden on hospitals by not unknowingly spreading the virus and not getting sick yourself. If fewer people became ill with the COVID-19 virus, health care professionals could better care for patients.
Helping COVID-19 patients.
As pointed out by the CDC, most people who become ill with COVID-19 can recover at home. Picking up medications or groceries and leaving them at the door are easy ways to help someone recovering at home. You could offer to watch a pet, allowing the person to focus more on themselves. Or, depending on where you live, winter weather means there are walkways to be shoveled.
You’ll also find many worthy charities on the web who help cover hospital costs for COVID-19 patients or help them in another way, but there are some scams too. Before donating money to any organization, read the FTC’s guide on how to verify a charity is legitimate at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity#.
Think about how you can use your passion for good.
Do you love reading? Start a virtual book club. Are you a yoga fan? Host a weekly yoga session on Zoom for friends who want to participate. Miss talking with your neighbors or colleagues? Start a weekly social hour and connect on Zoom or FaceTime.
How will you give back?
Every holiday season Air Wisconsin participates in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program in Appleton, Wisconsin, where our headquarters is based. Throughout the year, we match employee charitable donations, allowing us to positively impact many of the different communities we serve across the country and support the causes that matter most to our employees. We host blood drives and encourage employees to get involved in their communities. During a normal year, our company also participates in charity runs and events as a team.
Giving back can be done on a larger scale, but it can also be done within your social circle or your community. It’s all about connecting and making a difference. Right now, we could all use more positivity and support. If you choose to give of yourself, you’ll create moments of joy for yourself and others.