This COVID-19 thing sucks.
Many of us are confined to our homes—some with kids—and getting sucked into social media, which, let’s face it, doesn’t always make us feel better. We’ve taken pay cuts or lost jobs. We’re cleaning and cooking more than ever. We realize the math our kids are learning isn’t the math we know (and maybe failed at in high school).
It feels like we’re just waiting around for something bad to happen.
I’m not going to lie: I’m not sleeping well. I’m eating bags of Sun Chips. I find myself teetering on the edge of an anxiety-depression combo that will make it hard for me to get out of bed every morning—or shower regularly.
I’m stressing about our finances—the paychecks are now smaller but the bills aren’t—and when I’ll be able to see my family again. My husband and I are juggling full-time jobs and a rambunctious 3-year-old who can’t do anything for longer than 10 minutes. And I have to be extra careful because that same son is considered high risk for complications with this coronavirus.
Now you know why I can’t sleep!
I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to help. I don’t know how to fix this.
But there are things everyone can do, no matter your financial (or mental) state. And trust me, doing something feels way better than thinking there’s nothing you can do.
• Donate. There are so many organizations that are doing great work in our community—and that need help. While I can’t physically prepare meals or deliver groceries to people in need, I can certainly donate a few bucks to organizations doing the work. Mālama Meals, for example, is taking prepared meals and meal kits to at-risk kūpuna, the disabled and homeless. Every dollar counts.
• Give blood. The need for blood hasn’t gone down since the pandemic, but donations are. If you’re able to give blood, do it. (It’s considered “essential,” in case you’re wondering.) The Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi has put in place new protocols for donors to follow social distancing guidelines, so it’s safe—and needed.
• Support local restaurants. Not everyone can afford to eat out, and I get it. But if you can, consider maybe once a week—which is what we do—ordering takeout from a local restaurant. These eateries desperately need our support right now. Check out Food-A-Go-Go, an online platform that connects people with Hawaiʻi restaurants that are offering takeout services or delivery.
• Shop local online. Many of your favorite local retailers—Fighting Eel, Jana Lam, Sig Zane Designs—may have temporarily closed their brick-and-mortar sites, but they’re selling their goods online. (And many of them are making and donating face masks to the people in our community who need them most. Bonus!) So if you have birthdays or anniversaries coming up, consider buying from a local business.
• Buy from local farms and producers. There’s a number of ways you can support local farms. Farm Link Hawaiʻi (which we use) offers a staggering variety of local products, from veggies to eggs to ground beef, and will deliver to most neighborhoods on Oʻahu. Farm to Car is a new initiative by the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Federation to get fresh, local produce to people by offering online ordering and curbside pickup. Oʻahu Fresh is still running its popular CSA program, where you can order a box of veggies and fruits sourced by local farms for delivery or pick-up. Mari’s Gardens is offering curbside pick-ups of produce from its Mililani farm.
• Share what you have. We order food and produce deliveries—then split it with our neighbors and families. Our parents and one of our neighbors are in the high-risk category, so we order extra food for them. It seems like a small thing, but it does mean a lot. (I know because our other neighbor sends us food all the time, and we are really grateful, especially when I forgot to make dinner. Which happens.)
• Spread love and hope. In whatever way you can. We participated in #ChalkYourWalkHI last weekend, where we drew messages of hope with chalk on the sidewalks in our neighborhood. We mail letters to our friends and families. We set up Zoom and FaceTime chats to stay connected. We wave at our neighbors. I bake for our mail carrier. Whatever you can do to make someone smile or help someone out, trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll feel a little better.