As everyone adjusts to a new normal it’s important to keep in mind that social distancing measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 have also limited interactions with friends, family members and the community at large.

In fact, as many as one in four Americans have been under “shelter-in-place” orders in recent months. But keeping each other safe doesn’t have to mean losing our connections to one another.

Today, let’s learn about how you can stay engaged with your community, even while socially distancing.

Look for the Helpers

If you’ve been watching the unfolding coverage of the pandemic and wondering what can be done at the individual level, consider volunteering your time or donating money.

During this time of uncertainty, you may find comfort in becoming one of the helpers. Social networking apps, like NextDoor, make it easy to help others (or ask for help if you need it). Offering to take on small tasks, such as supply runs or yard work, can make a big difference for people impacted by the pandemic.

As you read through some of these suggestions, consider some of the unique ways you can be the helper in your community.  

Crowdsource for a Cause

Round up your neighbors for hands-on projects that can be done from home, such as assembling care packages for frontline health care workers or sewing masks for people in need. Consider using a crowdfunding site, like GoFundMe, to scale up your operation, access more resources and raise awareness of your efforts.

Make a Statement

Small gestures, like sharing an uplifting message, remind us that we’re in this together. Help bring your community together by posting words of hope, humor or encouragement on a sign in your front yard. With any luck, the positivity will spread throughout your neighborhood.

FirstBank teller, Buzz Busby, posts signs of encouragement for fellow Eagle County residents. Buzz has posted over 300 signs to date.

Be Charitable

Social distancing has made it harder for nonprofit organizations to raise much-needed funds and as a result, many are facing significant budget shortfalls. Think about asking your neighbors to join you in making a group donation to a charity that champions a cause that is important to your community.

Become Virtual Volunteers

Speaking of nonprofit organizations, many are in need of volunteers, even with social distancing guidelines firmly in place. In fact, there are a number of volunteer opportunities you can participate in remotely. The Mile High United Way is currently mobilizing volunteers in the Denver metro area for both in-person and remote opportunities. Arizona residents can look to HandsOn Greater Phoenix for a number of COVID-related volunteer engagements. And Visit Greater Palm Springs has curated a list of ways for desert residents to assist local nonprofits with pandemic response efforts.

Support Local Restaurants

Recent events have had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry, but you can make a positive impact on your local economy by continuing to support these local businesses. FirstBank created their Support Local page to connect you to open restaurants in your area. If your neighborhood has a newsletter or Facebook page, consider adding a restaurant spotlight that highlights these and other takeout options.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we interact within our communities but hasn’t changed the fundamental value in our connections to each other. Community engagement still matters — and it’s still possible, even at a social distance.

To stay up-to-date on FirstBank’s COVID-19 response, visit: https://efirstbankblog.com/coronavirus/.

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