How College Students Can Help Others and Spread Joy

April 27, 2020
Person giving blood

Here at EPOCH, we aim to help others on a daily basis. While we’re currently experiencing trying times, we believe it’s even more imperative to support our residents, neighbors, and friends. Here are just a few ideas for safely spreading joy in your community while maintaining safe practices and social distancing.

Cut Down on Waste

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to stock up on essentials, but you’ve probably noticed the empty shelves at stores around town. Food waste is estimated at close to 40 percent of the food supply in America. Rather than buying a month’s worth of products just because you heard there might be a shortage, buy just enough to get you through until your next grocery trip. Avoid buying excess amounts of food with quick expiration dates—do you really need two gallons of milk? Consider freezing items that are close to going bad (bread, produce) or safely sharing with a friend or neighbor. 

Fortunately, EPOCH makes sharing items safe and easy. EPOCH’s Little Free Library has been transformed into a Little Free Pantry. Whether it’s a snack, toothpaste, or some highly sought after toilet paper, aim to share what you can. Stop by our community pantry today: take something you need and leave something you can part with.

Write Letters to Those in Need

helping others

You may find yourself with some extra time on your hands while staying home. Use this time to spread joy to people who may be especially isolated. Consider writing notes to residents of local senior communities who are likely missing their regular visitors. Not sure what to write in a letter to someone you don’t know? Check out this site for letter requests and a story behind the recipients. 

You could enjoy the relaxing benefits of an adult coloring book and then send along your finished product to further brighten someone’s day.

Support Local Businesses

Restaurants and bars nationwide closed their dining rooms to patrons. However, many are still open for takeout or delivery options. Rather than running to your favorite chain every other day (no, you don’t have to completely give up Chick-Fil-A), seek out locally-owned restaurants. 

Perhaps your favorite local business is a clothing boutique or salon. Call or check out their website to see if they offer gift card sales, or ask about curbside pick up for telephone or online orders. Even consider buying a gift card to a local nail or hair salon for a future service once quarantine is lifted. The revenue generated now will help businesses and their employees stay afloat.

Donate Blood

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the American Red Cross is already seeing a decrease in blood donations. Low donor participation leads to low blood availability in hospitals for critical patients. As the Surgeon General explained: “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future.” As a result, blood drives will continue to run, and eligible donors are encouraged to give.

Understandably, you may be questioning the safety of donating blood during this time. Fortunately, donation centers continue to maintain sterile donation environments. Check out the American Red Cross to find a nearby donation site or get more about their safety protocols. 

Reach Out to Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Take time to reach out to your loved ones and those around you during this turbulent time. Perhaps your neighbor could use a few items from the grocery store, or a classmate is struggling with some online learning techniques. Even a quick phone call or text to let your elderly aunt know you’re thinking about her can go a long way. Stay connected to friends with technology platforms like Zoom, Google Hangout, or House Party. Being isolated is bound to take a toll on people’s mental health, so be proactive in helping out those you can. Remember that social distancing is merely physical and does not mean social isolation.

Remember Self-Care 

Last but not least, you must take care of yourself to have the capacity to give back to others. Like they say on airplanes, “Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others!” 

Self-care is incredibly important during this time. Take time for the things you love and be grateful for your health. Refer to our guide on avoiding Sunday scaries for a few ideas to practice self-care and banish anxiety. (Hint: these tips can work on all days, not just Sundays). 

Further, prevent the spread of the illness and help flatten the curve: practice CDC prevention guidelines and follow all government-regulated orders.

Keep on Track With Our 25-in-5 Challenge 

One way to ensure that you take care of yourself as well as help others is to hold yourself accountable. Join our 25-in-5 Challenge this May to ensure that you spread joy in the community, take time for self-care, and help others. 

How to participate: 

Complete as many of these challenges as you can each week before Friday, send us pics as you complete them! You can DM them to our Facebook, Instagram, or shoot us an email.

Once you have completed all 25 or as many as possible, we will tally up the points (1 PIC = 1 POINT) and select the top 5 winners for a $50 Amazon gift card!

Stay tuned to our social media stories for inspiration and motivation as our tribe completes these alongside you!

Spread Joy, Not Germs

While uncertain times lie ahead, and we’ve all had to sacrifice, remember that we are separated, but not isolated. Take time to think of how you can safely spread joy to someone in need. Together, we can do good and help others, even while facing a global pandemic.