Students

How to Serve While Social Distancing

March 23, 2020

It’s no secret that TROY Trojans everywhere love to serve their communities. We are bound by our culture of caring, which drives us to support each other even when we feel uncertain about the future.

However, the social distancing required at this time complicates our normal outreach efforts. If you are looking for ways to continue to serve your communities right now, use this list to reach out.

Donate to Civic Engagement’s Backpack for Kids program

In Pike County, nearly one in four individuals are food insecure. Backpacks for Kids is just one of the ways the Office of Civic Engagement works to address food insecurity here locally. TROY students donate supplemental food items and assemble bags that are distributed to youth and senior-serving organizations in the Troy community. Each bag consists of 1 entrée, 2 breakfast items, 2 snacks and a fruit. The following items are preferred: soup, macaroni and cheese cup, canned ravioli, as well as packages of individual servings of oatmeal, breakfast or granola bars, crackers, cookies, pudding, and fruit cups.

Food items can be donated at the Office of Civic Engagement in Room 122, Eldridge Hall. If interested, schedule a drop off time by emailing troyservice@troy.edu.

You may make a monetary donation to the Backpack for Kids program here: https://donate.troy.edu/donation-form-with-shopping-cart?fid=DyIkBlxRO9o%3d&fdesc=asWtuKdllTs%2fSEeiSbOZoeI9VcxpiSgNdNucn8tOGLmFp9hRecw8sw%3d%3d

Donate blood at a local donation center

The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations across the country. The organization is encouraging healthy, eligible donors to donate blood, platelets and plasma. 

An event will take place in Troy, AL on March 24 and March 25 in the Trojan Center. The American Red Cross has provided information on their website outlining protocol and safety information and how they’re preventing spread of germs and preventing infection in their procedures.

Not in Troy, AL? Select this link to find a donation location near you.

Support your local food bank

You can support a food bank by donating physical goods or by donating to online food banks around the United States. 

Now is a crucial time to support your local food bank. While many families have the ability to shop and prepare their pantries for an emergency, many more are unable to do so. Assisting local food banks with extra donations will help them to prepare for a spike in families reaching out for food.

If you’re healthy and able to travel, reach out to your local food bank to find out how to volunteer or donate physical goods.

If you’re homebound, seek out online donation opportunities for you to support communities that need it during this time.

Volunteer for Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is a national organization that provides nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to senior citizens. 

Meals on Wheels relies on local populations to supply volunteers for their services. With the high number of displaced students from colleges and universities and in spring break locations, this means that many local chapters have an emergency need for volunteers.

Find your local organization here to help serve your community’s senior citizens.

Collect donations for a reputable charity

Many charities are accepting online donations or have posted Amazon wish lists, which are full of items needed to serve their target populations. Here are a few charities that have posted wish lists and online donation links, but you can also seek out your own charities:

Rally your community to support a cause

Is there a need in your community that you can’t find a charity for? Utilize fundraising tools like GoFundMe CrowdRaise, online gaming, TikTok and Facebook to raise money for populations in need. You can utilize groups on social media to rally your community and encourage healthy people to step up and serve alongside you.

Direct Relief offers resources for getting started with your own fundraiser here.

Become a virtual volunteer

Need to volunteer from home? There are ways to donate your time and services from a distance. Websites like All For Good and Volunteer Match exist to make connections between volunteers seeking opportunities and organizations needing help. The United Nations also has its own website dedicated to matching volunteers to opportunities around the world.

Practice social distancing to prevent spread of virus

While the COVID-19 Coronavirus may subject some to only mild symptoms, others who are immunocompromised or elderly are at greater risk of experiencing severe symptoms. The virus does not discriminate based on age group; if you have been exposed to the virus but are not experiencing any symptoms, you may still be carrying the virus. 

You can help others by remaining vigilant in social distancing and hygiene. If you plan to visit a public place, remember to remain six feet away from others and wash your hands frequently. Prevention is always helpful.

Perform wellness checks on your neighbors and friends

If you have the ability to make a physical visit, check on your neighbors with a visit through the door or at a distance. Be sure to call or text your older neighbors and see if they need any food or groceries. Utilize meal delivery services like Uber Eats to arrange no-contact drop-offs. Uber Eats is currently offering free delivery from independent restaurants, which continues to help support small businesses and local economies.

If you are homebound, send a message to your family members to let them know how you’re doing. Facetime your friends so you can spend some virtual time together. Utilize online resources to make sure social distancing and self-isolation aren’t impacting your group’s mental health. Don’t forget to have fun with your check-ins! Utilize online gaming and browser extensions like Netflix Party to continue your favorite activities from a distance.

If you have found other ways to serve during this time, share them with your fellow Trojans so that we can collectively serve our communities during this period of great need. If you are in need, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Through it all, we are one big Trojan family.