5 ways to share kindness in your community

Illustration Loris F. Alessandria

With so much happening right now, making that extra effort to be kind and compassionate is good for us all. Whether it’s helping a neighbour out with their shopping, being a sounding board for a friend, or checking in on your elderly relatives, every bit counts. 

But you’re under the weather or dealing with some big issues of your own, this might be a time to step back, and that’s okay. If you need urgent help, we’ve compiled a list of support services so you can find the right assistance for you. 

If you’re able to lend a hand, here’s five ways you can help keep the community spirit strong:

    • CONNECT: phone home, call friends and neighbours — talk, listen and reassure.

It is essential to keep connected even when we aren’t able to be together in person. Technology offers so many different ways to reach out to your friends and family. You could Skype-call-text-Whatsapp-Snapchat-iMessage-GoogleHangout, whatever suits!

It’s important even whenself isolating to not feel isolated — and we all know how deflating loneliness can be. Overcome the physical distance by staying in touch with your loved ones. Call people to talk about what’s going on or just simply to hang out.

You could even get creative with tech by trying out plugins like Netflix Party, a Chrome extension that allows you to watch movies with one another, even if you’re not in the same room.

Schedule regular catch ups over a cuppa (or a wine, you do you) on Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime and talk about work, relationships and whatever you’re up to. Do what you can to live your life as you normally would.

  • COOK UP: prepare extra food, drop-off a dish and share excess supplies

As we’re all hunkering down to weather the storm, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal to get us through. Good Food has just published a collection of quarantine recipes to get you thinking. If you’re able to order in, Broadsheet has compiled a live list of Melbourne restaurants pivoting to takeaway due to coronavirus by offering delivery services or  ‘bunker boxes’ of ingredients.

For those outside of Melbourne, check in with your local pubs, cafes and other favourite eateries — lots of small business are changing up the way they way operate and would love your support.

While major supermarkets might be out of a lot of essential items, lots of smaller neighbourhood grocers still have lots of supplies, another great way to support small businesses during this time.

If you’ve found yourself with extra supplies, how about giving to people who need it most? There are lots of food banks or pantries you can donate to, such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, or why not reach out to the healthcare workers, single mothers, elderly relatives or neighbours you know, and see if they need a home-cooked meal?

  • BE SOCIAL: use your social to check-in, share good ideas and positive news

Social media has it’s good and bad points but at the end of the day, it’s a tool for communication. When it’s used well, we can help create stronger, more connected communities. Case in point: Italian citizens singing together from their balconies. Bellissima!

One account that consistently uses social media for social good is Humans of New York (HONY). Normally, HONY shares portraits and interviews with everyday people on the streets of New York. It’s funny, sometimes sad and always humanising. With the new lockdowns in effect, the folks at HONY have started a Quarantine Edition to share stories of people around the world in physical isolation. Well worth a read.

If you need a laugh (who doesn’t) there is no shortage of quarantine memes to keep us smiling in the darkest of times. For an extra dose of #cute, share this video of penguins roaming free around a closed aquarium.

While you are being a force for good on social media, make sure to regularly log off and after your mental health. Balance is key.

  • STAY KIND: check-in on the elderly, people with disabilities and any carers you know. Offer to assist where you can

There are community groups popping up all over the place looking for people who are ready and able to help out. From already formed neighbourhood networks to new groups like, Northside Melbourne CoronaVirus Outreach, why not join one in your local area? The Kindness Factory has started a wonderful cart buddy initiative for those who aren’t able to pick up essential supplies.

If you do head out for supplies, remember to give an extra dose of good vibes to supermarket and pharmacy staff. They need our support.

  • LEAD: don’t wait for others to act – take the lead

Do you have an elderly neighbour or perhaps you know someone who is immunocompromised? There’s no harm in checking in and making sure they’re doing ok. If you’re unsure how to help, check out the template below from Kindness In Action, perfect for popping in someone’s letter box.

We all have a role to play in the weeks and months ahead to ensure our community stays strong, connected and compassionate towards one another. Do what you can, when you can and we’ll get through this together.

Rosie Ward

Rosie is studying a Masters of Social Policy at the University of Melbourne while volunteering for the Victorian Women’s Trust. She is interested in finding effective policy solutions to gender inequalities. When not doing that you can find her perusing a second-hand bookstore or tending to her growing cactus collection. One day she wishes to change the world through progressive policy, that or find the perfect veggie burger.

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