Isolation fatigue – is it getting to you this week? The absence of presence is a heavy weight for human beings to bear. But even as the pandemic makes helping one another in many ways hard for now, giving can still bridge the gap. It just takes a little creativity.
In March, when we first published 19 Simple Ways to Love Your Neighbor Right Now, we heard so many inspiring stories of generosity bringing people together using these simple tips. We thought it was time for another round. We pray that these ideas spark some of your own, and help energize you with the joy of generosity in the days ahead.
1. Tithe your time: Use the hours you used to spend commuting or shopping to call a neighbor, write a letter, or reach out to a local charity to see if you can volunteer from home.
2. Deliver hope: If you’re able-bodied and anxious to get out of the house, many churches, ministries, and other nonprofits need help delivering food and supplies to needy families. Call a few organizations or do a quick Google search to find a few in your area.
3. Help the homeless wash their hands: Provide the basic human right of soap and water to those experiencing homelessness by supporting this national campaign (listen to details here) for portable handwashing stations.
4. Save a senior’s shopping budget: Work with your local grocery store manager to buy groceries for a senior citizen during the next dedicated shopping hour for those at high-risk. Read here how one person paid for every shoppers’ bill and the store ended up matching his donation!
5. Phone it in: Many charities and churches need volunteers to make weekly phone calls to help alleviate social isolation among the elderly and homebound. Call your church, nursing home, or a favorite charity to see if you can help make some calls.
6. Treat your delivery driver and mail carrier: Put a container of water and snacks by your mailbox or front door with a sign encouraging them to help themselves.
7. Start a neighborhood volunteer network: Use a social network to match the needs of your neighbors, like groceries and pharmacy runs with others who can help. Listen here to learn how several women have mobilized an army of volunteers in D.C.
8. Take volunteers to dinner with take-out: Create a win-win for local restaurants and volunteers, ministry staff, or hospital workers when you get breakfast or lunch delivered for everyone. Read how one NCF giver is helping restaurants in Austin feed their community.
9. Donate laptops and tablets: Call your local school to see if you can provide an electronic device for a child who doesn’t have access to technology at home. Or take that extra iPad down to a nursing home to help an elderly person stay in touch with loved ones during isolation. Listen for how you can be part of an effort to do this on a large scale.
10. Bless a college or high school senior: With so many important activities and milestones cancelled, many students are struggling with disappointment and depression. Remember to give the seniors in your life a gift of encouragement.
11. Buy gift cards from nonprofit thrift stores: Support the stores that provide essential jobs, income, and discounts for those in need. Read how several NCF offices have launched successful efforts to do this.
12. Grant a wish: Did you know most homeless ministries, shelters, and other charities have a wish list on Amazon? Check your favorite charity’s website to see if there are items you can order or drop-off.
13. Chip in for churches: Small, urban churches pour themselves out on behalf of their members and their communities, and many people in lower-income neighborhoods are among the hardest hit by the virus, both physically and economically. Now more financially stable churches are giving to help these churches continue their good work. Learn how many larger churches are helping smaller churches, and how you can too.
14. Don’t forget your pastor: The ones who encourage us most often need the most encouragement. Send a meal, cut their grass, drop off a mask, or run an errand for your pastor’s family, and let them know how much they mean to you.
15. Pay for PPE: To help buy masks and gloves for essential workers, consider donating to First Responders First or your local hospital. And offer to donate to a local hospital if you have extras. To help first responders and medical teams in New York, you can give here.
16. Stay generous: As the pandemic stretches on, it’s easy to lose heart. But the Bible encourages us to, “not grow weary of doing good…” – Galatians 6:9. Let’s keep giving when we can to churches, to charities on the frontlines of the crisis, and to those whose mission is entirely unrelated. Every dollar makes a difference.
17. Don’t complain: Try to refrain from complaining about the things we have to give up in this season while so many people in the world suffer. This is our moment to be the voice of faith, hope, and love – especially on social media.
18. Speak faith: In the face of frustration and despair, Christians have the unique opportunity to speak hope. Email a verse, text a kind word, share a smile or a laugh. Small words and gestures can make all the difference for a soul craving peace, even if it’s your own!
19. And pray! Prayer walk your neighborhood when you need some fresh air. Or call your neighbors, family members, or anyone that God puts on your heart and offer to pray for them. Here’s a story about loving those around you and ways to be praying for them.
Above all, may we be known for our love right now, when the world needs it most.
If you already have a Giving Fund at NCF, log in today to recommend a grant during this time. Here’s a list of charities on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. If you don’t have a Giving Fund, you can open one in just minutes.