On March 31st, Governor Wolf’s office extended the stay-at-home order until April 30th, adding Cameron, Crawford, Forest, Franklin, Lawrence, Lebanon and Somerset counties to the current list. When faced with the prospect of being stuck at home for another full month, it’s easy to see why much of the Pittsburgh area is feeling stressed.
Here are a few ideas for how to channel your frustration into a way to help the community in The Greater Pittsburgh Area.
Stay Home When You Can
We get it, it’s boring and inconvenient. But the most important thing that you can do is take the local shelter-in-place policies seriously. This is essential to flatten the Coronavirus Curve. Regardless of how young, healthy, and immuno-powerful you are, it is important that you do your part to keep the general population healthy and out of the hospitals. Our robust healthcare system has its limits when supporting our population. So if you’re one of the people working from home or self-isolating, feel free to kick back, relax, and catch up on your favorite Netflix shows.
Reach Out to Family and Friends
The Atlantic recently published one of many articles with suggestions on how to best fight monotony together while in differing levels of self-isolation or quarantine. The most important takeaway? Schedule some time every day to talk to someone – anyone – who might be feeling lonely. Replacing your daily social contact with any of the suggested forms of human connection is good for you, your friends and family, and the community as a whole.
Support Local Business
Small businesses like local restaurants are understandably struggling to stay open and keep providing incomes for their workers in light of the stay-at-home order in many counties in the area. However, some restaurants are continuing to operate on a take-out only basis here is a list of Pittsburgh restaurants still offering takeout and curbside pickup. Don’t see your favorite local business on this list? You can still help companies financially by leaving a positive review of past experience and purchasing gift cards to use later.
Support The Arts
Our arts community is suffering while audiences stay home, but you can still support the work of performers and creators. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has postponed all performances through May 10th, but you can still purchase tickets for future events past this date. Want to do more for your local artists now? Consider becoming a member of your local museums or donating directly to The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, and Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media. You can also purchase designs from local artists online via The Mattress Factory and Wicked Pittsburgh.
Contribute to Local Social Service Organizations
Food pantries, shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, animal shelters, and other organizations are struggling to find the appropriate supplies. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is in need of contributions and volunteers to aid the growing number of residents in need. The Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh is taking online and mail-in donations, as well as donations of essential needs. Unfortunately, some animal shelters are also in greater need of assistance recently. Visit The Humane Animal Rescue to learn more about donating time and resources.
Volunteering outside your home can be a tough call right now. Each individual’s most important priority should be to stay healthy. But if you are able to leave your home, many essential organizations are looking for volunteers to help with tasks: especially because many of the traditional volunteers, aged above 60, are in the high-risk category of contracting or having serious complications from COVID-19. Pittsburgh Cares has a simple but effective volunteer opportunity search. The United Way has virtual volunteer options among other urgent recommendations.
A spokesperson said that more than 4,500 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country because of coronavirus concerns as of March 19, resulting in about 150,000 fewer blood donations and causing concerns about the nation’s supply for transfusions. However, there are modified blood drives being scheduled around the areas. If you don’t believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please consider finding a drive and donating blood.
Check on Neighbors and the Elderly
Check on neighbors, especially those who are elderly or live alone to make sure they have food and other supplies. In the current climate, it’s easy to lose touch with neighbors we chatted with regularly for years. Social distancing could easily isolate those who may be most in need of assistance. Take a few minutes to check on those in your area who might be at risk by giving them a call or leaving a note letting them know that you’re thinking of them.
….Oh, and please wash your hands.