Pandemic Giving Back
by William Gallo

We should all be engaged with the Seven Dimensions of Wellness.  A quick summary yields Physical, Intellectual, Social, Spiritual, Emotional, Environmental and Vocational.  We practice these daily with the intent of living a longer and more meaningful life.  But what happens when a pandemic like COVID-19 arrives on our doorstep?  These rules to live a good life by “go out the window.”  COVID-19 has changed our lives, hopes, expectations and even our vocabulary.  New words are on our lips every day, words like Pandemic, Social Distancing, Quarantine, Morbidity, Intubation, etc.  Who would have thought the average Broward County resident would make these words part of their daily vocabulary. As we watch the statistics in Broward County hit 50,000 positive cases and 600+ deaths, we cannot escape feelings of powerlessness, depression, outrage and fear.  The real question is how does one mitigate these feelings, embrace those Dimensions of Wellness, and make a difference by “Giving Back?”   

As I sit at home quarantined, waiting for my test results (but feeling fine), I cannot bring myself to write about Giving Back as it relates to any particular person but rather using this article as a vehicle to put forth a moral imperative for every Broward County Resident to be that person I usually write about. These are unprecedented times and they call for unprecedented acts of humanity.  There have been few moments in history wherein each citizen has an opportunity to become a hero.  This is one of them.

As we watch the Coronavirus pandemic invade our world locally and globally, it is easy to feel helpless but each one of us can make a difference.  You can make difference whether you are rich or poor, quarantined or at work, young or old and of any nationality or racial origin, and in so doing you will find that you will be helping yourself as well as helping others.  Your stress level will decrease, your fears will be minimized, and your sense of community connectivity will be enhanced.  Most people I usually write about say that they get more out of giving back than they give, and truer words were never spoken. 

Perhaps Alexis Perrotta in her blog the Idealist summarizes it best in her nine ways to help. These are simple ideas and are a great checklist for every one of us.

  1. Check on your neighbors
  2. Explore ways to connect and volunteer virtually
  3. Waste not, want not (do not over purchase)
  4. Give blood
  5. Make a donation
  6. Be a leader
  7. Find the Broward County mutual aid networks and ask how you can help
  8. Remember those out there on the front lines
  9. Take care of yourself.

We hear these concepts every day on the news media but if you are like me, we often struggle to find ways within our own lives to implement them. Some simple positive impactful ideas are as basic as:

  • Make a point to reach out to a friend neighbor or co-worker. Call text facetime email etc. All of the social media are now more critical than ever.
  • Check up on someone that you believe is vulnerable perhaps an elderly neighbor parent of a child who is in military service or far across the country.
  • If you are young energetic and in good health consider running errands for those who are ill at high risk and need to stay home or are typically in need of assistance to function but are unable to find it right now.
  • Donate yes it is possible without giving money. Some of the most important donations are time expertise and surpluses of things you may have at home.
  • Consider donating food excess PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) and old books. Reading to a person who is visually challenged assisting an elderly person with navigating high tech systems in order to be able to access telehealth the list goes on; but if you search your talents you will find it is endless.
  • How about considering some very creative ways to Give Back. Perhaps you are good with sewing or are willing to iron for someone who is not able. Can you make masks and donate them to organizations for distribution? Are you a fitness fanatic? Perhaps offer your own social media virtual fitness classes to at-home seniors or children who are not able to attend physical education classes due to school closings.
  • If you are a professional why not offer free legal services accounting services home repair services and anything that can be explained via phone face time or zoom.
  • Take time to celebrate those on our front lines who are fighting every day to flatten the curve. A thank you phone call or arrange for all your neighbors to cheer on a healthcare neighbor as they leave for work or come home.

Of course, for those with financial means there is the very impactful donation of good old greenbacks. Give, give, and give more.  How about giving the money you are saving by staying home and cooking rather than eating out numerous times per week .  Why not find your local favorite food service person and donate the tips you would normally have given them if you were at their eating establishment.  Financial aid is critical to our institutions of higher education, places of worship, legal aid organizations, homeless shelters, food for the poor, and on and on and on.  If you can, now is the time to offer it up.

Yes, as you can see, we can all be heroes and we can beat this thing if each and every one of us makes even the smallest effort to “Give Back.”