How To Band Together In The Face Of Coronavirus
As many people feel confused and helpless in the face of coronavirus, it can help to channel that anxiety into something constructive. While, on the most basic level, following health advice and the requirements for isolation is the best thing you can do to stop the spread of the virus, there are other steps you can take.
Although it’s difficult to feel like you can do much from your couch, donating money and necessities can make a huge difference to those who need it most. Food banks, in particular, are facing huge challenges at a difficult time.
“It’s really concerning,” says Emma Revie, the chief executive of the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks. “We are anticipating a significant increase in users as more people are unable to work… We will stay open. Food banks are an essential community service.”
Donating food and sanitary products is crucial, but so is volunteering — many of the Trust’s volunteers and managers are in the at-risk age group. At the moment, many food banks are being forced to close because of a lack of volunteers. If you are able and low-risk, you can learn more and can sign up to volunteer here. If you can’t go out, you can also donate money online, either through GoFundMe or by donating directly.
Food banks forced to close as coronavirus leads to decline in volunteers (many are over 70) and shortage of food donations (due to unnecessary stock-piling)
This will push low-income families further into grip of poverty and social exclusion – V worrying https://t.co/81Wa81hCEn
— May Bulman (@maybulman) March 17, 2020
Of course, food banks are not the only way to support those in need. A huge number of coronavirus support groups, with tens of thousands of members, have appeared around the UK — and even more throughout the world. Many people are stepping in to get groceries and basic needs for those who can’t go out. From donating to checking on those who are housebound — or just calling elderly neighbours battling the loneliness of self-isolation — there are so many ways you can give back.
In the face of so much chaos, it is heartening to see how many people have pulled together and are willing to reach out.
“It is testament to the fact that people are worried,” Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the umbrella group, explained. “… people have a very grounded sense of community and its importance… Individual wellbeing is dependent on collective wellbeing and common resilience.”
Despite the community efforts being made, it’s clear that larger structural support is desperately necessary. Emma Revie did indicate that, though they’re doing everything they can, they really need governmental interventions to protect the most vulnerable. “Our benefits system should be a life raft in times of crisis,” she explained.
While we wait for larger changes, remember that you can still be an active member of your community — even during periods of isolation.