While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be challenging to say the least, it presents an opportunity for communities to come together and for us to give back.  Charitable giving is meaningful for a multitude of well documented reasons. In addition to helping those in need or just brightening someone’s day, the simple, selfless act of helping others provides a great sense of personal satisfaction and growth.

While writing a check is undoubtedly helpful, small acts of service can really add up and go a long way.  Here are a few meaningful ways to pay it forward and give back to your community today:

  1. Cheer Up Those Around You. Give an old friend a call, check in on your neighbor, or simply make eye contact and give a wave the next time you’re on a walk or in the store. A smile or kind social interaction can go a long way!
  2. Donate your time. Seek out local institutions looking for volunteers or donations.  If you’d rather not go out in public, offer your services or skill set. Do you know of a friend out of work? Offer to proofread their resume, make an introduction, or practice a mock-interview with them.
  3. Support Local Business. Local businesses have been hit hard during this period of social-distancing with Americans out and about less. Consider picking up a bag of coffee beans from a local coffee roaster (Rook Coffee is my personal favorite!), or simply supporting your favorite local restaurants. All of these establishments play a part in making your community a place you call home, supporting them helps keep them going.
  4. Tip a little Extra. Now that we’re heading back to the salons, barbershops, and beginning to dine out, consider tipping more generously. It is no surprise that these industries have been deeply affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, so as we begin to support these establishments, keep the local workers in mind. With the reduction in hours and a reduced customer base, a little bit of an extra tip, if you’re able to, can make a huge difference.
  5. Do Your Research & Donate Money If you’re able to give monetarily, do the research to ensure your money is being effectively used by the charity. Donate locally, and if you’re donating to a larger institution be sure to vet them in advance. There are charity assessment tools which rate organizations based on financial transparency and how much goes toward the cause versus marketing, fundraising or administrative costs. Also, it doesn’t hurt that monetary donations have tax advantages too!

While social distancing can make us feel insular, a sense of community has never been more important. Consider some of these tips to help us all get through this challenging time, together