British Columbia

Feeling helpless in the wake of COVID-19? Here are 6 things you can do

Social distancing doesn't mean we can't help each other out.

Call a friend, order in from your favourite restaurant and think about who might be needing a hand

Step 1: Check on your friends. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

As news around COVID-19 continues to evolve at a rapid fire pace and and uncertainty looms over seemingly everything, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.

Canadians are being urged to practice social distancing by staying home as much as possible and maintaining two metres of distance between each other when going outside for exercise or to pick up groceries. But the need to stay physically apart doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to help out and combat that sense of helplessness.

Here are some six things you can do to support family, friends and strangers:

1. Join an online forum 

A number of online forums have sprung up to crowdsource finding volunteers, resources and expertise.

Vancovid is a site created by a group of data scientists and software developers that allows people to sign up for volunteer services like dropping off groceries, driving people to appointments and more.

The Facebook group COVID-19 Coming Together (Vancouver) also allows people to ask questions, post their needs and offer up support. 

Only buy the groceries you need and sign up for a volunteer service to drop off groceries to vulnerable people. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

2. Order in from local restaurants and grocery stores

On Friday, all restaurants across B.C. were ordered to close and move to delivery and takeout options only.

Ordering in from your favourite local or family-owned restaurant can help it stay in business as walk-in traffic dries up completely.

Many larger grocery chains have offered grocery delivery services for years, but some smaller grocery stores are now also offering that option.

Click here for a list of ways small B.C. businesses are getting creative to stay afloat.

3. Donate blood

The ongoing pandemic hasn't decreased the number of other health emergencies in B.C. and across Canada. Canadian Blood Services is reporting a drop in donations as people cancel appointments. Donated blood is life-saving for patients undergoing surgery, cancer treatments and people involved in car accidents.

During their daily coronavirus briefings, B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix have both repeatedly called for B.C. residents to donate blood, if you're healthy and able to give.

Order in from a local restaurant to help keep it afloat. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

4. Call your friends, your grandma, your coworker. Call a random number in your phone directory. Seriously, just call someone. 

Canadian officials have emphasized that social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation. Make an effort to check in on your loved ones, friends, and coworkers. (It'll also likely make you feel better!)

Virtual dance parties, happy hours, workouts, art lessons and more have also sprung up online as a way to combat boredom and loneliness.

Follow the advice of public health officials. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home as much as you can and practise social distancing. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

5. Show gratitude

Residents in Vancouver's Yaletown and West End neighbourhoods have begun a spontaneous 7 p.m. cheer session to give thanks to health-care workers. Get it started in your neighbourhood by grabbing a pot or pan and heading to your balcony in the evening.

BC Ferries has put a call out to use the hashtag #ThankAFerryWorker to show gratitude to essential workers who are keeping the ferries running and maintaining connections to the coast. 

Watch one of the first 7 p.m. cheers here:

6. Listen to public health officials

Keep yourself informed by heeding the advice of public health officials to stay home as much as possible, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing. (If you live in Vancouver, you could face a $1,000 fine if you don't.)

Buy only what you need (that includes toilet paper!) to ensure everyone is able to pick up what they need. 

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