Although many of us long to see sweeping change, few people are willing to put forth the time and effort needed to enact the change they desire. While there’s nothing wrong with working towards change on a massive scale, it’s important that we avoid overlooking the neighborhoods, cities and townships from which we hail. As any seasoned difference-maker can attest, change truly does start at home. Anyone looking to help their community this winter would do well to consider the following measures.
Support Locally-Owned Businesses
There’s no question that shopping online can be convenient, especially during an active pandemic. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t continue to support small businesses. For example, while dining in may not be the safest thing to do at the moment, placing takeout orders at your favorite local restaurants can be a great way to show the proprietors your continued support. Additionally, if any of your favorite stores enable you to make purchases through their respective websites, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this. Purchasing gift cards from local eateries and stores is another effective way to help these businesses remain afloat until the pandemic is finally in the rearview.
Of course, if a local business means a lot to you, you don’t necessarily need to get anything in return for offering your support throughout this troubled period. For instance, many small businesses – especially those that have been force to temporarily close their doors – are currently accepting donations from loyal patrons.
Recycle Your E-Waste
The average American household produces a fair amount of e-waste. Since we’re so keen on upgrading various electronics on a regular basis, we tend to let the old ones pile up – and once we’re no longer able to comfortably store them, we simply throw them out. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First off, a lot of e-waste contains toxic elements, which can prove harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment as a whole. Secondly, throwing out outdated devices that still work perfectly well is needlessly wasteful. With this in mind, make a point of recycling any e-waste that’s taking up space in your home.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to go about this. If the e-waste you wish to part with no longer works, consider taking it to the nearest e-waste recycling facility. However, if the electronics you no longer need are still functional, why not donate them to local schools, homeless shelters or other organizations in need? Many charities, for example, are always on the hunt for working computers. In addition to reducing your household’s carbon footprint, donating your slightly out-of-date electronics can ensure that they receive many more years of use.
Support Local Charities
No matter where you’re based, there are likely to be a wide range of local charities that are always welcoming new volunteers. Helping organize food drives, clothing donations and other important events can provide essential aid to the less fortunate, strengthen your community and fill you with a strong sense of accomplishment. You can also help people who are immunocompromise or those suffering from other chronic medical conditions by taking part in blood drives and walking others through the blood donation process.
Get Vaccinated and Encourage Others to Follow Suit
Unless you suffer from a medical condition that makes vaccination unsafe, there’s no reason you should be walking around without your COVID-19 vaccine at this point. In addition to getting fully vaccinated, you’ll need to stay current with COVID-19 boosters, as well as booster-related news from the CDC and WHO. As an added bonus, seeing you get vaccinated may prompt vaccine-hesitant friends and family members to do the right thing. Just remember that a single unvaccinated individual can cause numerous infection clusters – and possibly even numerous deaths. So, even if you regard vaccination as a personal choice, it cannot be denied that your decision can have a direct impact on public health.
Maintaining public health within our communities has never been more important. With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its third year as an active threat and the continued prevalence of vaccine hesitancy, many communities are dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways you can help bring this crisis to an end and contribute to the collective betterment of your community.