My thoughts are obsessively overtaken with themes of gratitude. I am so grateful that my friends and family are healthy, that although I am no longer working due to the pandemic my husband is still employed and that we are able to take this road trip and get away from reality for a bit. This privilege does not ever escape my mind. Accepting these blessings from the universe without returning the favor is just not an option in my perspective. If you are healthy and employed, I hope that you are also giving back in whatever capacity you can. Mooching from the plentiful blessings life has brought my way, would be a self-centered and thoughtless way to live. Those who can help, should. It is our social responsibility to give back to our earth, to those in need, and to our communities.
Below are lists of organizations my family has donated to along with ways we have dedicated our time to serve other humans over the past five months. Both helping others financially and with your time are equally important. I hope that the list below inspires you with some ideas of getting involved in the act of helping others.
As many of you know, my family has participated in monthly community service events for the past four years, serving a variety of communities and organizations. During the Covid era, it is especially difficult to come up with ways to serve others when everything is shut down and new social distancing guidelines have been put in place. We had to brainstorm and came up with these ways to give back, with our time:
1- Last month I organized a big buddy/little buddy community comprised of a dozen teens who are matched with elementary school-aged kids for weekly zoom lessons to help with academic concepts or just have fun together. While my older son helps his little buddy with math concepts, my younger two children play games like freeze dance with their young, new friends. This has been a positive way for them to help other families entertain, and help, their kids while they struggle to work from home and keep their kids occupied.
2- We have an Instagram page called KindnessCult. My kids either played instruments for other kids to enjoy their music and they also held live, weekly Instagram storytimes for younger kids to enjoy.
3- We made beautiful cards for our UPS and FedEx drivers and left them on our porch thanking them for working during these trying times. Can you imagine if we couldn't get our Amazon deliveries?
4- My husband bought bouquets of flowers and gave them, along with cards we made, to the awesome cashiers at the grocery stores we shopped from regularly. We considered these employees as essential as hospital workers and we wanted to make sure they knew it!
5- We made notes and cards for essential workers thanking them for all their heroic work during these tumultuous times.
6- I called my local precinct in NYC and asked if we could donate money. I was told they cannot accept monetary donations but that having food/meals delivered would be a welcomed treat.
7- We sprinkled our local bay with inspirational and uplifting words that we drew on stones and rocks to hopefully bring smiles to other's faces as they passed by.
Since our kids have been very little we encouraged them to donate 10% of any monetary gifts they have been given. About once to twice a year we gather the donations collected and decide which charities to give to. In addition, my husband and I support organizations that mean a lot to us. Here are the not-for-profits we have been supporting since the pandemic:
2- Pandemic of Love
3- Chabad of Tribeca
4- Jewish Learning Institute
5- Animal Haven
6- Ocean Conservancy
Please share with me how you and your family have been engaged in community service during the pandemic and what your favorite charities are. We need new ideas on our end too!