What Can You Do To Help Others During The Coronavirus Pandemic?
The easiest way to help others when a pandemic is going on is to comply with the regulations the authorities have set out, practice good hygiene and maintain social distancing.
But many people are going through a pretty tough time right now, and it can feel like we aren’t doing enough to help. So if you’re looking to do something more, we’ve put together a few other ways that you can help out during the conditional Movement Control Order (MCO):
1. Check up on a friend or family member
These are trying times for many. The lack of face-to-face socializing can make things worse. If you know someone who’s struggling, reach out to them. Give grandma a call, start a Zoom party with your friends or send your neighbour a care package. They’ll appreciate it.
2. Be a good neighbour
Want to be a good neighbour, but dislike social interaction – even the distant kind? You can help just by filling up a form. The Selangor state government is looking for virtual volunteers to inform them of any neighbours you know who might need assistance during the MCO.
3. Donate money
If you can afford to, you can offer financial help to those who need it. Here are a few initiatives you can lend a hand to:
- COVID-19 PPE For Frontliners – organised by RumahKita, a coalition of Malaysian NGOs and individuals. Your contributions go to purchasing medical items for at least six hospitals.
- COVID-19 Collective for Orang Asli Emergency Fund – supports Orang Asli families affected by the MCO. Every RM100 raised will support a family for two weeks.
- Beyond Borders Malaysia COVID-19 Donation Drive – provides groceries to migrant and stateless person communities during the MCO.
- Yellowhouse Project S.O.U.P – provides care packages for the homeless, urban poor and refugees during the MCO.
- Trans Solidarity Fund – support transgender persons in Malaysia in precarious work, who are living in poverty, and require financial assistance.
4. Donate food and other essential items
You can also donate food and other essential items to the following groups:
- Malaysian Social Research Institute Humanitarian Food Drive – supplies grocery packs and necessities for families from minority refugee groups.
- Kechara Soup Kitchen – delivers Emergency Food Boxes to at-risk families and homeless individuals.
- Misi Bantu OA – support Orang Asli individuals located in the interiors who are facing economic problems and shortage of supplies.
5. Donate blood
Want to donate, but your budget is tight? Donate blood instead.
The National Blood Centre has urged the public to donate, as blood reserves have been down by 33% since the MCO was implemented.
As a donor, you are allowed to make trips to hospitals and public health clinics from 10am to 10pm during the MCO. But before you head out, make sure you meet the donor criteria. Donors are also advised to fill up a registration form and get a travelling slip. You can find the necessary forms and information on St John Ambulance of Malaysia’s website.
6. Support small businesses
The pandemic has hit many small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) hard. In a survey of 419 companies, over half reported a drop in revenue of more than 50%. Businesses have had to resort to pay cuts, unpaid leave, forced annual leave, reduction of working hours and more to keep afloat.
But small businesses play an important role in the economy – they drive innovation and job growth for many Malaysians. SMEs make up 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia, and they employ 66% of the workforce.
As consumers, we play a part in helping these businesses stay afloat. Here are a few things you can do to support them:
- Get food delivery. The food and beverage sector has been hit especially hard. But many food outlets are available for takeout. Check platforms like GrabFood, Foodpanda, or the restaurant’s website/social media pages. Even hawker stalls are delivering during MCO.
- Go online. Shopping malls may be closed, but you can check your favourite retailers’ websites and social media pages to see if they offer online purchases and deliveries. You can also support your fitness trainer/yoga instructor/music teacher by asking if they do virtual sessions.
- Buy gift cards. Want to support your favourite restaurants and get up to 25% off your meals? Many outlets are selling discounted gift cards that you can redeem once MCO is over.
7. Use your specific skills
You can use your unique skills to help others during MCO, even if you don’t work in an industry that’s deemed ‘essential’. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Culinary. Love to cook or bake? Make an extra portion for a friend who’s not as a good a cook as you are, and whom you suspect has been living off microwaved frozen food and instant noodles the past few weeks. Or sell your homemade waffles to raise funds for animals.
- Art. Sell commissioned artwork to raise funds for charity. For example, Duduk Rumah Artists are offering customised portraits in exchange for donations to local organisations involved in COVID-19 relief efforts.
- Financial services. If you’re a certified financial planner, and you know someone who’s in financial distress thanks to the pandemic, you can offer to lend your skills.
- Tech. People around the world are using their tech skills to fight COVID-19. For example, you could use your data science skills to help make sense of datasets on Kaggle, or contribute to crowdsourced projects like the Coronavirus Tech Handbook. You could even lend your computing power to folding@home to help researchers tackle COVID-19.
8. Spread the word
You can also help through your social media pages. Tell your friends and followers about the various COVID-19 relief efforts. Support small businesses by mentioning them in your feed. And finally, always check if your COVID-19-related information is accurate and verified before you share it on social media.