The onset of coronavirus has exposed our world’s selfishness, but it’s also acted as a catalyst for an outpouring of generosity. It’s human nature to be concerned about our own well being, but as Christians, we want to continue to live out God’s word to love our neighbour as ourselves and attend to the needs of others.
So how can we set ourselves apart to be generous when facing so much uncertainty over our groceries, finances and our future? These are just 10 of the ways that we’ve seen people giving over the last few weeks:
1. Giving blood
The NHS is looking for healthy individuals under 70 to become new blood donors in order to help them save more lives. Despite current social distancing enforcements, giving blood is permitted as one of the exceptions for travel since it is providing medical care for vulnerable people. You can register as a donor here.
2. Helping the community
From Rebecca Mehra’s Twitter story of how she helped an elderly couple with their grocery shopping to Jennifer Le who ordered masks from Vietnam to distribute them among her elderly community in Singapore, there’s no shortage of people serving their communities during this pandemic.
Why not take a leaf out of Jennifer’s book and sew face masks for vulnerable people in your street, or use the Nextdoor app to connect with your neighbours in need and find out how you can assist them.
3. Running a taxi service
For those who drive, you can lend a helping hand towards vulnerable neighbours who are having to self-isolate at this time in the form of a personal taxi service. Get in touch and find out what shopping you can assist with.
Additionally, when the NHS resumes its search for extra pairs of hands, one of the key posts needed is transport volunteers – that is, drivers who can ferry patients from hospitals to their home, along with medical equipment, supplies and patient medication.
4. Using disappointments to bless others
Another way to be generous during this time is to use our setbacks to benefit others. For instance, many scheduled events which have been cancelled due to coronavirus have made the generous decision to donate all their catered food to local causes such as The Felix Project – a London-based food waste charity which delivers food to needy groups across the capital.
5. Offering skills
Take inspiration from the hotel owners opening up their rooms to vulnerable individuals, food organisations such as Pret A Manger offering discounts to NHS staff, charities like Beauty Banks supplying those in poverty with basic toiletries, not to mention the 3D printing companies who are offering to design and produce more ventilators for COVID patients. Even major film festival Cannes has played its part by offering its venue as a shelter for Paris’ 12,000 homeless citizens.
6. Donating to a good cause
While money won’t solve the crisis, it will go a long way in helping distribute essential items to those in need. Global bodies such as The World Health Organization (WHO) have set up a Relief Fund where individuals and organisations can financially support WHO and assist with fighting the virus.
7. Encouraging with words
You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare to write a cheerful message for someone. It could be something as simple as sticking a post-it note on each door of your street during your daily walk – perhaps with a Bible verse and friendly greeting to let them know you’re thinking of them. If you live close to family or friends, do the same for them or leave a care package on their doorstep. Alternatively, place a daily quote or message of encouragement in your window for passers-by to read.
8. Celebrating someone’s birthday
If a relative or friend are having their birthday during lockdown, instead of just writing a Facebook post, why not send a handmade card or record a video of yourself singing happy birthday. You could also take inspiration from the street in Madrid who celebrated their neighbour’s 80th birthday by knocking at her door and leaving a cake outside before jointly singing a rendition of Happy Birthday.
9. Putting on a show
Cultural organisations such as The National Theatre have been showcasing some of their performances free for anyone who wants to watch. And some are doing the same for their neighbours!
There have been several inspirational accounts of individuals hoping to cheer up their neighbourhood, like the couple from Buckinghamshire who made news headlines by dressing up in different period costumes for their daily walk just to lift the spirits of their village in Milton Keynes. Izabela Pitcher, who runs a costume business, also began hosting a daily quiz on social media for local residents to guess the era of each costume. Meanwhile, people across the globe are spreading cheer to one other from their houses in the form of Christmas lights.
10. Praying for one another
Above all else, we can pray. Praying shows that we care enough about somebody to bring their needs before God. Ephesians 6:18 instructs us to regularly pray for others, especially fellow believers: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”