Lockdown may be loosening, but life is unlikely to return to normal any time soon.
I don’t pretend to understand all of Boris Johnson’s changes, but many people with serious health conditions will still need to stay at home for months to come.
Pin for later:
So if you would like to make a difference during these troubled times, here are my five frugal ways for helping your community during COVID-19:
Volunteer for a local community support group
I volunteered to help with ‘Hadleigh Cares‘, the community support group in our market town during coronavirus. Hadleigh Cares helps the vulnerable and self-isolating by picking up shopping, posting letters, collecting prescriptions, walking dogs and organising meal deliveries from the local pub and caterer. I haven’t been able to run errands while we’ve been self-isolating, but I can still be a friendly voice on the phone when people ring in with requests. There’s a rota so I take calls roughly one day a week.
I think it’s amazing that so far the 150 volunteers for Hadleigh Cares have done hundreds of shopping trips and delivered more than 1,000 meals and over 500 prescriptions.
You can find a list of local community support groups here.
Pass on toys, books and games to keep people entertained
Now we’re all stuck at home, I’ve had a bit more chance to declutter, and found perfectly good books and toys which my own children have outgrown. So we stuck a box of books outside our house, with a sign suggesting people help themselves.
It’s a win: win situation. Other children can enjoy books while our local library is closed, and we can shift stuff we no longer need. Otherwise, decluttering is tricky during lockdown, while charity shops and tips are shut, yard sales off limits and queues to post anything sold are so lengthy.
I’ve also benefited from a couple of novels when my neighbour down the road put out books she no longer reads.
Just remember to whip any stuff back inside if it starts to rain!
Donate to your local food bank
With so many people facing financial issues due to coronavirus, there’s more demand than ever for food banks. So do think about popping a few items in the food bank box at a supermarket, or donating long-life tins and packets from your shelves.
The Aldi food parcel I ordered included tea bags and instant coffee that we won’t use, so I’ve offered them to the Hadleigh Food Bank, which is doing amazing things during lockdown. You can find your nearest Trussell Trust food bank here, or google your area and ‘food bank’ to find independent food banks as well.
Previous post: What does your food bank really need?
Offer your skills
When lockdown first started, I was racking my brains about how I could help. I’m not a key worker and I don’t work for the NHS. But I figured I could offer the skills I do have, in helping people manage their money, and now I do a weekly guest spot on BBC Radio Suffolk, sharing money tips during coronavirus with Sarah Lilley on her Sunday show.
There are all kind of reports about people who can sew making facemarks and scrubs, or those with 3D printers making face shields – what could you do?
Keep social distancing
Perhaps the biggest way to help combat coronavirus for free is social distancing, by staying 2 metres apart when leaving our homes. Goodness knows how it will turn out in practice, as people start returning to work, but it’s got to be worth trying where possible. So far, the NHS has not been completely overwhelmed. I do hope the economy can start getting back on track too.
Now – over to you. How are you helping your community during COVID-19, even if money is tight? Do share in the comments, however small, I’d love to hear – and maybe your actions will inspire others!
Want more frugal inspiration? Do head over and join the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group, to share thrifty tips and support. It’s a private group so your comments won’t be splashed all over your friends’ Facebook feeds.