Social distancing – it’s our best defense against COVID-19 and we’re doing our part to practice it responsibly. Though we’re keeping our physical distance, we’ve never been closer in spirit as we rally together to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic.
We believe that now more than ever it’s important to stay connected so we’re sharing some ways to support each other, as well as local businesses and nonprofits. While we all stay in, we invite you to join us in reaching out to help.
- Contribute to local nonprofits - Facing increased need and forced to cancel fundraising events, local nonprofits are struggling to provide much needed assistance and keep the lights on. During this time, monetary donations offer the greatest support and can be made online to many organizations. Be sure to verify that you are contributing to a reputable charity or give to organizations that distribute to vetted agencies such as United Way of the Pennyrile or United Way of the Greater Clarksville Region that has an established emergency relief fund.
A fun idea to raise money to support your favorite charity is hosting a “Phantom Ball.” This “non-event” event offers a unique alternative for avoiding crowds, buffet chicken and prolonged presentations. Guests are invited not to come and contribute the money they would have spent on tickets, attire, transportation and childcare to the benefiting charity.
- Donate to a food pantry or hunger relief organization - As grocery stores scramble to keep shelves stocked, food and essential supplies become even more scarce for those vulnerable to hunger. An extreme rise in need is anticipated as job or wage losses occur, children who depended on free school meals face food insecurity and senior citizens are challenged with greater limitations for accessing nutrition. Consider donating money or food to a relief organization like these in our communities: F.U.E.L, Manna Café Ministries, Urban Ministries, Loaves and Fishes, Aaron McNeil House and Micah Mission Center. Many also need help distributing food and have adapted their services to maintain social distancing practices.
- Volunteer online - Read to a child you know via FaceTime or Zoom, offer remote tutoring assistance or lend your talents for a variety of virtual volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch.org or Catchafire.org. With extra childhood trauma and disruption caused by COVID-19, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville is seeking additional volunteers. They have altered aspects of the program to interact virtually during social distancing and are building a bank of ready-to-match adults who can be matched with a child when the pandemic has subsided.
- Send love notes - Isolation can be particularly tough for seniors and others who cannot have visitors. Send an uplifting card or your family’s artwork to brighten their day through programs like Meals on Wheels’ Nourishing Notes.
- Support education and learning - As schools close and students must use remote learning to continue their studies, many do not have the tools they need. Giving to organizations like FirstBook.org helps provide free books to children without internet access and home libraries. Local universities are also seeking assistance for students who are without access to laptops and other technology that will enable them to complete their courses virtually. You can help by donating to Austin Peay State University’s Govs Give Back fund.
- Support local restaurants and small businesses - Local businesses are the backbone of our community – often donating to charitable events, little league teams and educational programs. As they close their doors or dining rooms, it’s time to return the support by purchasing items or gift cards online, as well as ordering food for curbside pick-up or delivery. Cheer up someone with stay-at-home blues by sending a floral delivery. If you can, tip well as many rely solely on this income. Visit ClarksvilleStrong.com, Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce or Christian County Chamber of Commerce to find out where you can support local merchants.
- Offer assistance to at-risk neighbors - Older people are most vulnerable to exposure of the Coronavirus. If you know of someone who is elderly and homebound, consider checking in to see if you can shop for and deliver groceries to them.
- Stay social by hosting a virtual party - Boost the spirits of friends and family by throwing a virtual party when celebrations in person are off the table. Check out these tips by Delish for fun digital dinners and get togethers.
As we do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we hope you’ll be inspired to spread joy and hope instead. Think outside the box for how you can stay healthy and stay connected. We’re All In … This Together.