Random Acts of Kindness: How to Support Artists, Small Biz, and Healthcare Workers During Social-Distancing

It’s a shitshow out there but I am so Goddamn inspired by all of the random acts of kindness and positivity in the world right now. What better way to cope with such a fucking insane moment in time than to OD on and distribute well-wishes and love?

My friend Ivetta is sewing masks to donate to healthcare workers in the Bay area. My friend Rachael is also making masks in NY. My friend Anne made yard signs and is sneaking them into the yards of healthcare workers in her community, something she calls “benevolent vandalism.” People are going out of their way to support local businesses, to thank healthcare workers, to reach out to friends and family in any way they can and to find creative ways to connect. I’m seriously just blown away by the amount of positivity to come out of such a scary and uncertain situation (I’m equally as blown away by the number of conspiracy videos my parents find every daily on Facebook and feel the need to share with me…please make it stop). Humans, so, so bizarre, and so, so lovely, at the same time, aren’t we?

If you’re looking for some ideas to do some good, support people who need it, and spread cheer around your community, look no further than this post because I’ve got ALL OF THE IDEAS.

Easy Ways to Support Local Businesses, Creatives, and Freelancers Right Now

There’s no denying that this is hitting the economy which means that everyone will be impacted in some way and small business owners, creatives and freelancers are going to get hit really hard. Luckily there are a lot of ways to support them (er us) right now. While purchasing goods and services are super helpful and much needed, there are other ways to show up for these people if you’re low on funds these days.

  • Buy Services For Later: While we’re all stuck inside, it can help us to have something to look forward to. Buy a gift card for a service that you can redeem after quarantine: Book a massage, a facial, a house cleaning, a tattoo appointment, a serenade. Whatever.
  • Support Authors: Purchase books from your favorite authors (unless they’re Liz Gilbert or King, you’d be surprised to know that your fave author probably makes as much as a school teacher or much less…crazy, right?). Quarantine book club, anyone? Set up a Zoom reading for small authors through your local bookstore. All the things!
  • Shop Local (or Small Biz or Places like Etsy): Try to buy from local stores as much as possible. Remember, supporting local stores means putting money into your community, your schools, your livelihood. Buy groceries from locally-owned grocery stores, send birthday flowers from locally-owned florists since there shall be no parties anytime soon, shop online at locally-owned clothing boutiques, buy your books locally as much as possible, and try to buy from local farmers. Many locals places including farmers are also willing to deliver right now, so win-win! If you can’t find what you want or need locally, try to make your purchases through small businesses. Also, Etsy is currently gearing up for mother’s day. Check em out!
  • Support Artists While You Redecorate: You’re home all goddamn day staring at your blank ass walls so now is a great time to commission art. Been wanting a giant portrait of your potbelly pig for some time? Commission that shit! Or send me a painting of a capybara wearing a monocle. No pets? No problem. Human portraits are always fun, too! Buy a vase. Or some cross-stitched tapestries. Or some prints from your fave Instagram Sex Worker.
  • Fill Your Belly With Local Fare: Get curbside no-contact takeout from your favorite locally owned restaurant, bakery, ice cream shop, coffee shop! Skip the chain restaurants if/when you can and support your community. They need you!
  • Patreon And Such: If an influencer, performer, comedian, artist, dancer, whatever, has a Patreon account or otherwise takes donations, make a donation. Even five bucks can go a long way.
  • TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BIZ/SERVICES/HELP ME MAKE A MASTER LIST: If you have a list of your favorite local places in your area, please share them with me in the comments below. List the place, the location, a sentence about them and an Instagram handle (or website) and I’ll happily share it here. This includes your own business! If you own a small business or are an artist, freelancer, etc., please tell us about yourself below, what you offer, and where you’re located. No SPAM goddammit. Please no pyramid schemes. Love you but nobody is into it.

No money? No problem.

Spread the love. Artists, writers, small business owners, freelancers, spend much of their time just trying to get noticed. Share their work far and wide, it matters a lot more than you realize.

  • Write Reviews: Write reviews whether it’s on Yelp, Goodreads, Amazon, or iTunes.
  • The Vanna White: Take pictures of yourself with products–fave mugs or pants or commissioned art pieces or of you pining over services-–oh these were the days when I could get a facial from blah blah and share it.
  • SHARE, SHARE, SHARE: Share content you enjoy with friends and family across all of your social media platforms. “Hey ma, read this!”
  • Comment And Like: Write comments on Instagram posts of people you follow, like posts, then share that post, tell the world why you follow them.
  • Video is King: Video yourself reading passages from books or blog posts that make you laugh or think, and share it. Do an interpretive dance. Illustrate it using stick figures. Go Tik Tok crazy with it. It’s easy, it’s free, and it can truly help to keep people going right now.

Creative Ways to Show Love to Healthcare Workers

Our healthcare workers are on the frontlines saving lives. Many of them are separated from their families for long periods of time. They’re doing all of this so that we can be taken care of and be safe. It’s really important to let them know that we see them and everything they’re doing because even though they’re heroes, they’re still human and they are experiencing fatigue and trauma right now.

  • Buy A Mask, Give A Mask: Support people who are making masks for them. A ton of people out there are making masks for healthcare workers. Some accept donations and others do a “buy one and we donate one” approach.
  • Boost Morale: Put up signs in your yards to thank them or participate in “benevolent vandalism” and put signs in the yards of healthcare heroes. Just remember to wear gloves and masks and stay away from humans.
  • Donate: This article in Business Insider has a list of ways to donate PPE or money to get healthcare professionals the protective gear they need to stay safe while treating patients.
  • Write Your Politicians: Ask them how in the holy hell we were not prepared for a pandemic and demand they get their shit together. Just because we have fancy tech and Instagram doesn’t mean that humans have evolved past the plague. Sickness has been kicking our asses since the beginning of time: Spanish Flu, Bubonic Plague, Sars, HIV, at what point are we dumb enough to think we don’t need to participate in the happenings of the planet we live on? Any run-of-the-mill virus is more evolved than us, that’s a damn fact. Demand that we get healthcare workers what they need and that we are better prepared next time.

Random Acts of Kindness

I don’t know what you’re personally going through, but I’m sure it’s not easy. I’m definitely struggling but I’ve found it can be helpful to channel some of my anxiety into doing things for other people. Of course, self-care is crucial right now, but doing positive things can be a form of self-care.

  • Phone Tree: Now more than ever people need their community, they need to feel supported and cared for, and a very easy way to boost morale in your neighborhood is to start a phone tree or email tree. Get email addresses of everyone on your block so you can take care of each other. My neighborhood did this so that we can deliver meals, do yard work, or petsit/babysit for anyone who falls ill. It’s a small act, but holy crap did it make all of us feel a lot safer. Especially because most of the people on my street are transplants with no family nearby.
  • Send Letters And Postcards: I don’t know if you’ve tuned into You’re Gonna Be Great! But in episode two, I chatted with children’s therapist, Maggie Sandack, and she had a great idea for helping young kids and teens stay connected to friends: Writing postcards and notes to send in the mail. I love this idea. It changes things up a bit, shakes up the monotony, and also can be an activity for the entire family. Sit around with your cat, or partner, and/or kids and write postcards to your neighbors, your friends, your family, or your accountant. People need a boost right now and getting your little gift in the mail can really help turn a crappy day into a great one. It’s affordable and you don’t have to be Jane Austin. Draw a picture. Write down your favorite quote. Make it funny, with a “do you like me circle yes or no,” or just draw a giant set of boobs on it. Except don’t send this one to your accountant because that’s fucking weird. Make sure to wash your hands before touching anything though! Wash hands, wash hands, rinse, repeat.
  • Send Food: Have a no-contact meal or food basket delivered to someone in your community who could be really struggling right now. Think of your elderly neighbors, students, anyone living alone or without a support system.
  • Reach Out: As people in your community start getting laid off, try to reach out and offer support. A phone call, a postcard, baked cookies, or store-bought goods or deliveries, donations, etc., can really help someone who is struggling.
    • (I think that in the US we have a hard time with this because we’re raised to have very weak boundaries (always be polite! Never offend anyone) so we’re scared of strangers and the ways that they might push our boundaries which in turn might force us to well, enforce them, and God forbid we offend anyone. That’s crap. Reach out. If someone crosses a boundary, enforce it, take a deep breath and move on).
  • Foster an Animal in Need: Animals still need somewhere to go, even during a pandemic. The shelters are still full of animals needing temporary or permanent homes. Call your local shelter! Besides, you’re home, what else you got going on?
  • Plaster Your Neighborhood: Make posters (or have your kids make posters) with uplifting sayings like “we’re gonna get through this!” and tape them to telephone and power poles on your walks. Wash your hands and wear gloves so you’re not contaminating all the world.
  • Zoom: Call your family. Friends. Everyone. Any chance you get. People need you.

Did I miss something? Put it in the comments below and I’ll add it.

And please, share, like, comment, etc. Because, well, you know.

 

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