Thanksgiving is more than just eating a big meal and watching football; this Holiday Season is about expressing gratitude for the people, places, and things in our life. This year more than ever, we are keenly aware of the things we have taken for granted, for freedoms we enjoyed but can no longer experience. Our daily lives have changed dramatically with little improvement in sight. However, we can change the dynamic of this Holiday by looking outside ourselves and reaching out to others.
As we watch the coronavirus pandemic play out on a global scale, it’s easy to feel helpless and angry. No matter who you are or what your situation – you can make a difference. Even if you’re quarantined at home, there are still many ways to get involved and give back. Now is the time to figure out what we can do to help each other and our communities.
Here are some examples of ways that we can help our communities while continuing to practice safe habits:
Check on neighbors and family members, especially those who live alone, are elderly, have health or mobility issues, or are caring for children.
Donate to the local food pantries in your community. Your support will help them provide food items for families in need.
Use social media to share ideas on coping with self-isolation and preventing boredom, and offer support to neighbors who may need assistance.
Write notes to senior centers that are closed to visitors. Reach out to a senior care facility in the community to see how you can best assist with their needs.
Shop local and purchase gift cards to help keep your local coffee shop open or your favorite gift shop. Support local businesses for your Holiday Gift Giving, purchase gifts from local shops. Let’s help those who are trying to keep afloat.
Give blood if you’re able; the Red Cross and other organizations are in dire need of blood supply and have safe, healthy ways for you to donate.
Continue social engagement.
As restrictions are put in place to promote social distancing, avoiding crowds and limiting close contact (at least six feet) with anyone outside of immediate family, you can still stay in touch and communicate with family and friends by phone, mail or social media.
Don’t underestimate how much you’re helping by simply following public health guidelines. Even by just staying at home as much as you can and practicing social distancing when you do go out, you’re making a vital difference in your community.
Making an effort to stay healthy and avoiding high-risk activities will lower your own chances of contracting the coronavirus. This, in turn, will keep others from getting sick and overwhelming the health care system. Sometimes taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do. As the saying goes, put your own mask on before you help someone else, literally and figuratively!
Happy Thanksgiving and Stay Safe.
Chair, Tioga County Legislature