While everyone is trying to navigate their own new normals brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing ordinances make it easy to feel helpless in trying to be there for your family, friends, and community in an impactful way, while you’re personally juggling a full-time job, childcare, and remote learning. But it’s more important than ever to show up and support each other during these tough times — whether a friend has to quarantine or becomes a new parent, an elderly family member gets sick, a teacher needs supplies, or a hospital needs meals — it’s up to us and our communities to support them.
When I started Give InKind four years ago, it was to ensure that everyone felt supported by their communities, whenever and wherever they needed it. Following the unexpected stillbirth of our first child and the support my husband and I experienced (or desire to support from afar), I decided to create an easy-to-use platform to allow people to coordinate through care calendars, wishlists, fundraising and updates all in one place for free. Over the course of the last few months, Give InKind’s mission has taken on a whole new meaning with COVID-19, enabling people to support and be supported in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.
Below are a few ways you can use Give InKind to help support your community:
Create Classroom Supply Lists for Teachers in Your School District
As school districts continue to develop plans about what back-to-school will look like this fall, our communities need to help a re-emerging force of frontline workers — our beloved teachers.
Create a Give InKind page and build a Wishlist to organize school shopping lists for communities where teachers and students will be attending class in person or remote. On top of typical back to school supplies, these lists should include cleaning supplies, as these will be a crucial item to ensure classrooms are COVID-safe. See Give InKind’s curated lists for suggested items for a remote or socially distanced classroom. Additionally, ask teachers if they have existing Amazon Wishlists for items they need this school year and add to your Give InKind page. It’s a great way to communicate exactly what is needed to help support the classroom. Share these pages with your community, friend groups, social channels, etc.
Organize a Meal Delivery Train for New Parents
In May alone, when COVID was at its peak, 116 million babies were born under the shadow of the Coronavirus. Whether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned veteran, navigating life with a newborn is so rewarding but it’s incredibly trying. New parents are being faced with the hardship of raising a newborn without the support that they had been prepared for due to COVID social distancing rules.
Organizing a meal delivery train is a great way for friends and family to support new parents. Because of Coronavirus, and safe health practices, instead of having people prepare meals themselves, loved ones can sign up for a specific day to deliver takeout orders to new parents. Create a calendar through Give InKind to make it easy for people to choose their day and arrange to either have food delivered or deliver it themselves with minimal contact with the new parents.
Start a Gift Card Train for a Friend Facing Unemployment
2020 has been a tumultuous year for a lot of people as unemployment rates skyrocketed due to the global pandemic. As a result, they are struggling to make ends meet. While many aren’t able to donate a huge amount of money to a loved one who is without work, there are plenty of impactful ways to do something smaller. A little donation multiplied by many can make a huge difference.
Consider organizing a “gift card train” where friends and family near and far can give gift cards to the loved one who is out of work. You can coordinate virtually, thinking about what kind of cards make the most sense — gas cards, grocery store cards, restaurant gift cards, etc. to make getting around and eating out more feasible on a low budget. Gather emails from friends and family and tell them to email their gift cards and well wishes. This is just the kind of gift that will make a huge difference to someone who is struggling with unemployment.
Donate Meals to Hospitals and Frontline Teams
Donating meals is a great and simple way to support and fuel our frontline teams and healthcare workers as they fight against the coronavirus putting others’ needs in front of their own. It’s easy to feel helpless in how you can support those who are doing such heroic work while you’re unable to leave your home. The good news is there are several ways you can help!
Hundreds of hospitals and volunteer groups have set up hospital support pages using Give InKind, to organize a meal train for the overwhelming number of meal donations that are going to front-line teams, while generating revenue to local restaurants at the same time. If you’re interested in setting up a page for a hospital in your area, you can do so here.
For more ways to use Give InKind to support your community and loved ones during these unprecedented times, visit: giveinkind.com
Laura Malcolm is the Founder and CEO of Give InKind. Laura created Give InKind after she and her husband James experienced the devastating loss of their first child, their daughter Layla, to unexplained stillbirth. Laura combined the need her friends and family had for an easier way to give support from anywhere, with her technical background, to create a single destination for coordinating all kinds of support that are needed. Laura and James now reside in Washington State with their two sons, and continue to live their life in honor of Layla.