How to Help During COVID-19

It’s been a surreal week up here in the Northeast of the United States. No sports. No school. No museums or libraries to distract the kids with no school. Work is happening for some remotely. Work is still in person for others, but it is eerily slow and quiet. What’s getting louder however is the dramatic pain this pandemic is inflicting on many people, particularly economically. What can you as a leader do to help, while still modeling “good behavior” (i.e. social distancing)?

Know what is safe to do, what isn’t and help others understand.

One of the best summaries I’ve seen came from a recent Atlantic article called the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Distancing. Sitting at a crowded bar?  Not a great idea. Going outside for a walk with a friend? Yes, if you stay 6 feet apart from anyone else. Many people have no idea what behavior is safe. Help change your team’s behaviors and be a role model yourself. If you need resources, WeSpire has made our platform and all our Covid-19 educational content free to any company that needs it.

Check on your neighbors, particularly elders

Social media stories are spreading fast about elders too terrified to go into the grocery store or not having the strength to get everything home. Pick a neighbor, family or friend to check on every day. Every call they get will at a bare minimum brighten their day, but could also stave off a serious issue.

Order take-out or get a gift card from a local restaurant

Restaurants are among the first hammered in many of the states that are shutting down. I’m heartbroken about what’s happened already to some of our local favorites. It makes a huge difference if you continue to order from them. Buying gift cards for the future is another way to contribute that gives them immediate cash without the food cost.

Take a class or workout virtually

My Irish step dance class is no longer happening and gyms are all closed. But some of these teachers are offering online classes. If you would normally pay to take a class or workout and can still afford it, give the online options a try. It can be the difference between making rent or not for most of these small instructors.

Join #StoptheSpread

In the past week, nearly 1,500 CEOs came together to rally the business community towards four initiatives: stop the spread of the virus, support front line workers, get enough medical equipment and supplies in place, and #payitforward to get cash from payables immediately to small businesses. They are now trying to raise $500M towards these efforts. Join here.

Donate to a community resilience fund

Many communities are setting up funds to help those out of work, who are food insecure with schools closed, who lack child care and more. Now is the time to dig deep and help.

I know you are likely being inundated with yet another grim story of someone you know and dozens of appeals. My only advice is to remind yourself that the problem is too big to solve alone. When you join collective efforts, like #StoptheSpread or donate to a community fund, you amplify your impact.

I also find at times like this that sometimes I just need to pick one person to help, however “unscalable” that choice might be. For me this week, it’s been a local restaurant that I’ve loved. I know every restaurant is hurting. I can’t help them all. But I can make a difference to one. So I encourage you to pick your cause and double down. You will have more impact than you think.

Quote of the Week:  Those who take action have a disproportionate impact. The power of one is to move many.

Elizabeth May

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