opinion

From fostering a dog to buying coffee for a nurse: 6 small ways you can help out right now.

As we all stay inside this weekend to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve, many of us will be wishing we could do more to help those around us.

While previously we could offer our services and lend a helping hand, the government has assured us that the best possible thing for us to do right now is to practise physical distancing. It’s incredibly important; not just to protect ourselves, but to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

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The good news is that, although we must keep our distance, there are still small gestures we can make.

So, if you are at home this weekend and wishing you could do more to help out during this unprecedented global crisis, here are six simple ideas.

Walk a neighbour’s dog.

If you have the capacity to, offer to help those who are unable to leave their homes. Whether they have a pet that you’d be happy to walk or you’re able to grab them some groceries when you head to the supermarket, these little things really do go a long way.

Many local communities have Facebook groups set up where you can share a post offering to help, or do it the old-fashioned way: slip a letter in someone’s mailbox.

Order a meal from a restaurant that now offers takeaway.

As many experts have prefaced, there will be major economic impacts as a result of this pandemic. Meaning, most small businesses will take a hit. This includes pubs, cafes and restaurants, which are now doing their bit by not serving diners in-house.

But you can help!

Many of your favourite hotspots will already, or soon, be offering takeaway and delivery services. Thanks to the guys at Broadsheet, there is a live tracker of which restaurants in your city are operating this way. So, check out the menus, pick out your favourites and order something this Saturday night.

And honestly, it’s a win-win. You get to eat delicious food from a restaurant on your couch that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to, and they get to remain open.

Buy a healthcare professional a coffee.

 

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Simple acts of kindness are important in this time of darkness. Especially, when it’s for those fighting on the frontline of this global pandemic.

The GoFundMe page, Buy Them A Coffee, directs 100 per cent of proceeds towards local coffee carts that give away coffee, tea and treats to healthcare workers in cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Wollongong, Hobart and Brisbane.

Buy a gift certificate from a local business.

As previously noted, small businesses are going to suffer over the next few months. So although you can’t visit your nail salon or facial studio right now, buy a gift card so you can, later.

Buying a gift card will actually help these businesses stay afloat during the period they have to stay shut. So visit their websites or social media pages and enquire.

Donate blood.

As many Australians are staying inside, there has been a severe decrease in blood and plasma donations. So although we all should practice social distancing to keep our community safe, blood donations are essential.

If you’re 18-76 years old, healthy, and weigh over 50KG, you are more than likely eligible to donate blood. And with Lifeblood Red Cross needing 10,000 donations by Easter, your donation could be crucial.

“A blood donation is a life-saving donation and much of modern health care depends on availability and support of blood donors, so it is definitely an essential service,” Lifeblood medical director, James Daly said.

If you’re unwell or have recently returned from overseas, this is not something you can do. But if you are at home and able to, the Department of Health is encouraging contributions.

But first, check the Lifeblood Red Cross website to make sure you are a suitable candidate.

Foster a pet.

If you are in the position to, fostering a cat or dog is the perfect way to help an animal who needs a home.

Not only would it change the life of an animal in need but it would provide you with companionship, too. And if you’re not ready to commit to owning a pet but would love the chance to test it out, fostering is the perfect option.

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RSPCA’s Foster Care program allows you to provide a temporary home to a loving animal who is not yet ready for a new, permanent one.

 

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Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown spoke with Mamamia’s podcast The Quicky and offered some advice before fostering a pet, suggesting you do your research first.

“Check out a few animal shelters [online] and try not to fall in love straight away with the pictures you see of those little, lonely hearts,” the famous vet explained.

“Go around to the animal shelters and have a chat with them because people who work at animal shelters are good people and they know what these dogs are like and they want them to go to the right home. They will tell you exactly who they are suited to, and whether you are the perfect match for them.”

Do you have any suggestions for other helpful gestures? Let us know in the comments.

Feature image: Getty.

Read more about COVID-19:

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, stay home as much as possible, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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