Paying it Forward


The images of people vying for supplies and food in the aisles of the supermarket, or the short-staffed hospital workers without access to proper protective equipment are etched in our minds these days. It seems like the best thing we can do for humanity is to stay indoors and just wait this out. Staying at home and limiting your contact and furthering your distance from others when you must leave the home are indeed helpful in slowing the spread.

For those of us who are left wondering how we can help in this crisis when the idea of leaving your home is all but forbidden, it can seem futile to want to help others. There are still ways to help, even with the restrictions currently placed on many of many of us. There are many vulnerable people who cannot safely leave their homes for food and supplies. If you know any vulnerable people in your life, now is the time to check in on them and find ways to support them.

Many people are in need of food delivery and fear leaving the house. Others are sick with symptoms and quarantining at home while recovering. Not everyone has the luxury of money, or nearby family members, to care for them. By checking in on neighbors, friends, or acquaintances, you may provide an opportunity to help someone desperately in need. The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is one such example of an organized effort to provide training, supplies, and funding for research. There are more local ways to support those around us, too: houses of worship, community agencies, even hospitals.

When supplies feel scarce, and the future seems uncertain, it is natural that many of us worried about having enough for our own household. If we embrace the mentality that we are here for not only ourselves, but to nourish community, we will find meaning in giving away supplies to others. If you find that you have extra canned soup, or more sanitizer than you will need over the next few weeks, sharing with someone – especially someone with needs greater than your own – could save lives. The process of giving to others can alleviate the inborn fears of scarcity, uncertainty, and survival – and open up compassion, fulfillment, and purpose.