If you’re anything like me, you often feel so overwhelmed by all the suffering and need in the world, that you become completely paralyzed. But now is not the time for that, folks! Now is the time to not try and save the entire world, but to merely focus on your own community. And if we all do that, guess what: We’ll save the WORLD! The butterfly effect is science, people.
Here are some of my thoughts on what, how and where to start.
Resources: We all have different resources, whether that is time or money or certain skills. Go write these down and decide on where and how you can give and help most effectively. Get involved in an area that you feel passionate about or skilled to help in. If you love animals, get involved at a shelter. If you’re a runner and you’re currently running 21km around your dining room table, why don’t you do that for a cause?
Identify your Community:Start looking for opportunities to help in your own circle of influence. Who in your family needs help? Is there somebody amongst your co-workers or employees? Maybe the security guard at your complex or the petrol attendant at the petrol station you frequent. Helping tends to be more effective when it’s born out of a relationship.
Support Existing Charities:We don’t all have to re-invent the wheel and start our own crusades now. There are so many existing charities that have already done the groundwork in the communities they help in. They understand the people and the needs of that specific community and know what the most effective way is to help them. Getting involved in reputable charities also protects you from being scammed and helps guarantee that your money and donations actually get to the people it was meant for. Some great resources for finding a charity are websites like: forgood.co.za and thegoodthingsguy.com.
Ask for help: We are a proud people and one of the hardest things for most of us is to admit that we need help. Put your ego aside and ask. You’d be surprised how many people out there are willing and able to help.
Here are a few ideas from my online community on how you can help:
Obviously I feel very passionate about supporting my performing artists’ family during this time. We are all freelancers, and in an industry where it is already hard to make a living under normal circumstances, this pandemic will leave many artists and their families in dire straits. This is how you can help:
Don’t pirate: You can support your local artists by firstly not pirating our work in this time. I know your kids are tired of watching ‘Finding Nemo’ for the umpteenth time, but please don’t pirate our movies and songs and shows. You are literally stealing food out of artists’ mouths.
Online Shows: So many artists have resorted to doing online performances. I want to encourage you to support these live shows. Rather than watching the ‘Friends’ rerun AGAIN, buy a ticket for a local comedian, singer, motivational speaker's show and enjoy a live performance in your own living room. Google your favourite performer, see what they’re up to and support them wherever you can.
The Theatre Benevolent Fund:TBF in conjunction with the PMA and SAGA has started a fund to collect money to supply food vouchers to artists in desperate need. No amount is too small! Please consider making a donation and remember to reference it as ‘Covid19’. And if you are an artist in need, you can apply for a voucher on their FB page.
Capetown Together - Community Action Networks (CAN): These community projects focus on feeding children and families in need by partnering and supplying soup kitchens and feeding schemes with the necessary food items. Many kitchens have closed down due to lack of access to food, money, gas etc. over this period. Durbanville CAN and Kuilsriver CAN are aligned with the Cape Town Together Group.
Missing Children SA: The Covid-19 pandemic has had an absolutely dreadful and devastating impact on donations and funding for MCSA. But know this, there is a found person behind every donation made. #GiveToday and be part of a happy story, a child found - a family reunited.
Sparrow Schools: Sparrow Schools' learners come from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Many of the students have learning disabilities and come from communities that are suffering severely from the consequences of Covid-19. Donate here.
@Justonething365: My sister-in-law just adopted the coolest dog through @justonething365! They also raise funds to buy much needed supplies for animals in distress.
Kitty and Puppy Haven: This shelter has been doing amazing work over the past 20 years, but they are in danger of having to close their doors for good. You can donate here.
I am Water - Ocean Conservation:I am Water is passionate about working with underserved / low income coastal communities where, despite living walking distance to the shoreline young people have never seen the world just beneath the waves. Help them continue the amazing work they do to uplift communities and save our oceans.
Local Businesses: Support local businesses by buying gift certificates and vouchers now for services and gifts you would be buying throughout the rest of the year anyway. Let’s do Christmas in April/May/June/July!
The Elderly: Buying food, medication or offering transport to an elderly person is an easy way to help. #Viralkindness has a great template that you can print out at home and pop in postboxes all around your neighbourhood so you can identify people in need.
Making Masks: There are so many patterns and ideas available online. Just Google it! I love this DIY video from Suzelle.
Reading Children’s stories: Phone a friend that has kids (and that has probably run out of wine by now) and offer to read their kids some stories. You will give a parent a much needed break!