This is my first article for the Guardian and I wanted it to be about some recent changes I have personally seen in my community caused by COVID-19. In these times of great uncertainty, we find ourselves scared, confused, and worried about what the future holds for us. Being in quarantine is a huge sacrifice and can be difficult for many of us. But I propose that we see it as an opportunity for us to practice being good citizens. I am grateful that during these hard times, my community has taken steps to make our current environment safer and friendlier. Many local restaurants and other establishments have started making food packages for those who find themselves without access to food. These actions, and the people behind them, are what it means to be a good member to your community. We have seen much on the news about people fighting at market places for items, elders being scared to shop for groceries, and mothers not finding diapers for their children. This is a time where we need to show compassion and friendliness to our fellow neighbors.
The most important thing we should leave with, coming out of this quarantine, is knowing what it means to be a good neighbor and a good member of your community. So what does that mean? Does it mean being friendly with your next-door neighbors? Getting involved with your community? Donating food? It means all these things and more.
I’ve listed some ways that we can be good neighbors and show friendliness:
1. Make time to call your family and friends to make sure they are ok.
When we can’t gather in groups of more than 10 people, it is hard to stay connected with family and friends. Spending some time of your day sending a text message, FaceTiming, or having a Zoom meeting with your friends and family is a great way to stay connected and check in on how they have been doing; quarantine affects everyone differently.
2. Help your parents with that technical issue they always seem to have with their
phone. We all have that one parent or guardian who can never seem to work their phone — or any piece of technology, really. With this extra time on our hands, we should look at it as an opportunity to teach our parents or guardians how to properly use their phone or any other piece of technology they struggle with, especially in my case: the computer.
3. Spend time helping your siblings with the online homework assignment they are struggling with.
As we struggle with online classes, so do our siblings. Online classes are new to us and to them. But while we have a plethora of resources available to us, they might not have as many. Offer your help and go over material together for them to have a better understanding.
4. Donate extra canned goods to shelters.
Be a good neighbor and donate extra canned food items to shelters in your community. With the closure of many food places and new rules in place regarding grocery shopping, people are struggling with getting access to food. Donating food, even if it’s five cans, makes a difference.
5. Remember to not hoard essential items.
When the pandemic started, we saw on the news how people rushed to the grocery shops trying to stock on necessities. We also saw how this rush to hoard items left those with bigger needs empty-handed. That hoarding continues today, as aisles that used to be filled with toilet paper are now empty. We must remember that we are not the only ones quarantining. There are countless others who need the same necessities as us, and in that sense, we must be respectful to others
6. Doordash some food to your friend or nextdoor neighbor
We all miss going out to eat with friends and can’t wait till we can finally go out. Until then, I suggest doing this activity electronically. Brighten someone’s day by sending them food through DoorDash or any other food delivery system. My family and I recently sent some food to our next door neighbor, who recently did us a big favor, to show our appreciation.
7. Help with chores around the house.
I think my favorite thing about living away from home was not doing as much chores, but now that I am back, it’s back to the same routine as before. Yet, in these different circumstances, I know it’s much more difficult for my mom to do them all by herself. I volunteer to do some chores, while my brother takes up another few and my mom the last few. This act of assistance goes a long way and is a good way to make your “community” at home a better place.
8. Volunteer to cook dinner for your family
It is not easy cooking dinner every day for a larger group of people. If you are quarantining with others, I suggest you volunteer to help with cooking. Even if you are not the best cook, helping by cutting vegetables or even washing them is another act of being a good member of your household.
9. Support your local restaurants by ordering takeout
While many restaurants have closed due to COVID-19, many others remain open. But with quarantine in effect, they don’t get as many customers. Ordering takeout from restaurants when possible is another way of being a good neighbor to your community. Your business helps them stay open and gives them support during this hard economic time.
10. Have a positive attitude in everything you do
This is super important to remember. To push through these tough times, we must remember to always have a positive attitude. Having a positive way of thinking brings more hope into your life and less negative thoughts.
All these actions and more are what makes us good citizens and helpful members to our community in a time of need.
During these very stressful times we forget about the people around us who are working hard to accomodate us during quarantine and actively working to fight the virus. It is our responsibility to play our part in keeping our community sane and safe. Being a respectful good neighbor inside and outside your home is what will lead us out of quarantine as better people and better neighbors.
Art: Social Distancing by Yui Kita