Friends, we are all navigating uncharted waters with the Coronavirus pandemic. With each new day, we are bombarded with news, information, closures, and guidelines. Here at The Exodus Road, our ethos is that justice is in the hands of the ordinary. We truly believe that when ordinary people unite under a cause, there is great hope for change. So, our team gathered (virtually, of course) to brainstorm ways to move forward with intentionality during this time of disappointment, fear, isolation, and the unknown.
As one of our teammates said, “These are small actions but if we can rally lots of people to do some simple things, get everyone to act as one, it can make a huge difference in our society.” This idea is the very heartbeat behind our belief that justice really is in the hands of ordinary people. It’s the reason The Exodus Road started, and it is proven time and again with our field teams and staff as they continue to help find and free those caught in human trafficking.
And so it’s with that belief in mind that we’re offering you these ten practical ways to love the global community and to bring light into the darkness during the COVID-19 crisis. Choose one, choose them all, and let’s make this challenging time an opportunity for doing good in ordinary, but important, ways.
PREVENT and PROTECT
#1 Wash Everything. Start with simple and practical measures to lower risk of infection and to prevent the spread of infection to others. Practicing good hygiene such as hand washing, sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces, and staying home whenever possible - especially if you aren’t feeling well - is a great place to start. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Even if you are not at great risk, your choice to isolate could mean that the vulnerable around you are kept safe. Read up on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. The White House also published these recommendations to slow the spread of Coronavirus in just 15 days.
#2 Be Rational, Not Reactive. Remember to respond to the Coronavirus challenges rationally and not reactively. Take measures to manage anxiety and stress. Now is the time to get good sleep, feed your body nutritious food, and prioritize daily exercise; whether it be a walk or run in the neighborhood or signing up for online workouts. Consider limiting time watching the news on TV which is infamous for showing the worst and can often invite fear and panic. It has been proven that practicing intentional gratitude does wonders for your attitude, so you might keep a running list somewhere in your home (even with the help of your kids!) of the things in your life that you are thankful for. And here are a few more ideas on managing your mental health.
#3 Keep It Reputable. Stay informed and choose to only share information from reputable sources. Know the facts about COVID-19 and be sure that you are sharing accurate information. For most people, the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is low. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are offering free access to their Coronavirus updates. These are both great resources for reliable, up-to-date information.
MEET BASIC NEEDS
#4 Lend a Hand. Meet needs by taking care of the people in your immediate sphere of influence, like your family and then work your way out to others around you. Check on your neighbors, especially older neighbors. One of our teammates read about a family that delivered notes to their neighbors’ doorsteps just to check in, offering help and their phone number should any neighbor need anything. If you are low risk, you can offer to pick up items at the grocery store for those considered high risk to reduce movement and exposure to COVID-19. These seemingly small gestures can and will create a sense of community during what could be a very isolating time.
#5 Keep Conversation Open. Reach out to your friends and loved ones regularly to make sure they have everything they need and to ask how they are doing. Just showing care and concern meets a relational need that we all have for being seen and remembered during this uncertain time. A simple text, FaceTime or phone call means a lot. You have the gift of extra time right now, and it’s a perfect opportunity to intentionally connect with the people in your life.
#6 Donate in Your Community. If you are able, you can donate non-perishable food, essential goods, or financial donations to your local food bank or community organization that is collecting on behalf of people in need. Read these best ideas on keeping pantries stocked for the elderly that are shut in, people at high risk, and those in your community living with food insecurity.
SUPPORT EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
#7 Share Your Pro-Tips. If you have expertise in child care or education, now is a great time to share favorite online resources for ways to foster successful at-home learning. Consider using social media as a platform to share favorite at-home learning links or offer to help tutor students virtually who might be struggling in a particular subject during this time. There are online platforms such as FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout and many other platforms which make social distancing a snap while teaching. No sanitizing wipes needed!
#8 Shop Local Businesses. The closures taking place all over the nation are a crushing blow to businesses. Look for small businesses to support first, as their lifeline may be the shortest during this crisis. If you are healthy and feel comfortable buying take-out meals or coffee to go, that is a great way to supplement meals at home. Many places are now offering delivery, as well. Buying gift cards to local stores and shops, many of which can be purchased online, is another way to keep revenue up while practicing social distancing and can be gifted or used at a later date. Share what you are doing to support these businesses on social media and tag them. Sometimes people just need reminding of where they can still get good tacos, a freezer dinner or a life-giving cup of joe. Local businesses would be so grateful for your patronage in these challenging times.
#9 Research and Empower the Global Marketplace. Support the need for dignified work in the global community where the majority of earth’s population is already living in disadvantaged situations. Find businesses that are doing the good work of providing a marketplace for the vulnerable using Fair Trade and choose to support them. Order online from fair trade clothing companies like Target Corporation, GAP, Athleta, Prana, Madewell, REI, J. Crew, and many more. Shop from fair trade food brands like Arrowhead Mills, General Mills, 365 Everyday Value, Guittard Chocolate Company, Harris Teeter, O Organics, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and more. And gifting to your family and friends may be especially meaningful when the gift comes from companies that exist to bring light to the world. Companies like Yobel, Noonday Collection, Saribari USA, The Little Market, Gifts with Humanity, and Women’s Peace Collection all have beautiful things to choose from whether the gift is for you (wink), a friend, or your mom for Mother’s Day.
#10 Focus Outward! Historically, humankind has responded to crises in different ways. You can choose to only focus inward, or you can choose to use this time to connect with others and support those in need. Find needs in your community and on our planet that compel you to do what you can to make this world a better place. In a busy, chaotic world, we have been given the gift of time, so we must use it wisely. Watch that documentary that caught your eye, read that book that is stacked by your bed, play a game with your family, or if you are low-risk and able, you can volunteer in bringing real, tangible help where it is needed in your community.
We may be isolated from one another during this Coronavirus pandemic, but we are not alone. We are ordinary people, but we do have the power to impart extraordinary kindness, hope and love in the world today right in our own homes and communities.
We’d love to hear what you are doing to bring good into the world during this time. Leave a comment or message or tag us on social media; we’d love to celebrate an army of ordinary heroes together as a community.
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