help during COVID-19

I Can’t Sew Masks, But This Is How I Can Help During COVID 19

I have been grappling with the future.  With the reports of those stricken with COVID-19 and those who have passed away worldwide, we are all facing tough questions.

I’ve been social distancing and while all the health officials tell me it is vital, I’m oddly feeling helpless.

When I turn on the news, I hear about the need for masks, PPE and ventilators.  But I can’t source any of that.

That leaves me thinking; How can I help during COVID-19?

Sometimes a problem seems so overwhelming I feel small and wonder what can 1 person do?  I’m grateful that my industry is considered essential and what’s more, I have the privilege of working from home. Despite these gifts, I’ve been struggling with depression & anxiety.  Those energies are just in the air. I also struggle to think outside of myself and immediate household.

I think this is very common, we are feeling grief over the life we took for granted.  In light of existential dilemmas, we resort to flight or fight survival instincts.

Instead of stewing in my own bad mood, I’ve decided to figure out how I can actually help others during COVID-19.

Taking Cues from Silver Linings

Some of the bright spots since this lockdown started has been the pictures of clear skies with the reduction of air pollution; the video of marine life playing in bays & coves that are usually busy tourist areas. Another positive energy has been the way that communities have banded together to support our neighbors with grocery trips for seniors, food drop-offs for front line workers.

These are heartwarming because those are the things that are important to us.  They speak to the inherent goodness of our life on earth. They remind us of what we truly value.

During this lockdown, I’ve been pretty haphazard on how I’m trying to help.  I bought some cloth masks from a local seller for her to keep cashflows, and so actual medical masks are available for medical and front-line workers.  A couple of times, I ordered-in from local restaurants.  These are the things that we’ve been encouraged to do the most.

While I know these things do “help”, they feel insignificant.

And I’ve been considering why I feel this way.

The only reason that resonated is that it’s been reactionary. I haven’t had a “plan” on how to help.  So I’ve come up with a plan – one that will help me in my feelings of agency and my mental wellbeing and help others in this economic crisis.


Intentional Consumerism

Revised Budgeting

I’m starting with a revision in my budget.  Since I use a zero-based budget, new circumstances justify a revised budget to reflect current spending. Now that I no longer have to spend on commuting,  I can divert it to supporting local businesses.  I don’t have to spend the same amount; if your situation is precarious or you would feel better with a larger cash cushion, even diverting 10-20% of that budget can help.

Buying Ahead – Not Hoarding

I’m not talking about toilet paper rather presents for the rest of the year. When reconsidering my budget,  I usually spread out my present buying over the year.  But the expense is usually will spend in a year anyway. Since I have the extra time and I’m spending it surfing the web anyway, I’m going to order the presents now instead of waiting.

Think Local, Shop Local

Support more independent shops instead of giant chains.

We’ve read how Amazon is having a banner season with everyone ordering.  I admit, their delivery policies are tempting.  Who don’t want it same day or next day delivery?

However, I am also concerned about what their warehouse workers are going through.  I think they can use a slower pace and more distancing.  I’ll be buying more of the presents from local bookshops and local stores.

Same goes for large chain craft stores.  It might take more searching, but I’m sure I can find the same art and craft supplies from different local shops.  Instead of ordering knitting supplies and painting supplies from one monolith like Michaels, I can place 2 orders at specified local craft stores.

Pay for Delivery & Shipping

This is a tough one because we’ve been trained to look for and expect free shipping. We know that, rationally, the shipping isn’t truly free; part of the cost is embedded into the price. But we love free shipping and most of the retailers offering free shipping are the larger chains.  Smaller retailers just can’t afford it.  And in the time where the smaller shops don’t have the cash reserves to weather this economic storm, I’m going to choose to shop at places where I have to pay for shipping.

That includes restaurant and meal ordering apps.


Intentional Giving

Remembering Regular Charities

Now that many people aren’t fundraising through sporting events like races, these charities are seeing fewer dollars donated.  So if you usually support a runner who fundraises for cancer or diabetes, consider writing a cheque directly.  After all, these underlying conditions are complications that increase morbidity rates in those who contract COVID 19.

Domestic Violence Support

Women’s shelters are especially hard hit right now

Due to social distancing measures, many families in shelters have to segregate and not use shared facilities like TV or game rooms.  And if they are allowed to use the shared facilities, thorough cleaning has to take place between each family’s use.  This creates are hardship for the residents and staff.  The staff are in need of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and disinfectant that are hard to find right now.

The residents need extra support in terms of keeping kids occupied and general entertainment.  Since they can’t use the common TV room, perhaps they can use more streaming services that families can access on their phones.  Extra books and kids’ activities help too.  These can be purchased and delivered directly from the local bookstore.  This way, we can help both entities at once.

Think of how low amounts can impact; Loyalty point rewards – cash them in for items that can be donated? Gift cards etc.

Food Banks Could Use a Hand Too

We see the collection boxes as we are leaving the grocery stores; often we see bags of pasta or mac & cheese in there.  These are considered safe, non-perishables. These non-perishables are needed now more than ever.

In addition to the pasta & cereal, I’ll be looking to donate cans of tuna & jars of peanut butter. This is something that food banks can use all the time, but the recent hoarding of tuna and toilet paper has got me thinking; these seem like things that we should be donating more often.

So I’m starting now.


For many of us, our daily lives have been stripped to bare necessities.  This can feel like things have been “taken from us”, furthering our grief and reinforcing the idea that we are powerless.

But collectively, we hold a lot of power.  More than ever, we see how individual actions have large impacts.  When we are thinking about the negative ripple effects that one COVID 19 positive person might have by not staying home, we can focus on the benefits they have by staying home.  A series of small intentional actions by us can have large ripple effects in our communities too.

So let’s think about what we can add to our communities now.

Buy local.
Pay for shipping.
Donate a meal.

Stay home, stay safe.


Please stay connected with us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.