(Local) Love in the Time of Covid-19
I was picking up the lego I had just tripped over (a pain worse than childbirth) when I glanced out the window and locked eyes with my dear friend prancing through my backyard. She waved with a bright smile and shook a white box over her head before gently placing it on my back porch and taking off the way she had come. Donuts. Donuts in the age of social distancing. Donuts hand delivered by a friend.
"People say think globally, act locally. Well, if you think globally, it is overwhelming and you do not have enough energy left to act locally. Just act locally and see what difference you can make." - Dr. Jane Goodall
For the individual:
Acting locally is hand delivered donuts dropped on a back porch.
Acting locally is a micro-distillery pivoting to hand sanitizer...and then donating it.
Acting locally is donating hundreds of meals daily to those who may need a helping hand -- without demanding proof or passing judgement.
Acting locally is buying a gift card (or ten) in advance from your favorite mom and pop coffee shop.
Acting locally is calling your elected officials and demanding that Main Street businesses be included in any bailouts.
Acting locally is rocking your baby to sleep, mowing your neighbors lawn, decorating your house with a heart so that kids strolling by can see we're all in this together, picking up one of the many volunteer needs on our local NeighborLink board.
Acting locally is picking up the phone and calling your grandmother, setting aside an hour to just be together on the line.
For the Corporation:
Acting locally is pre-ordering Christmas gifts for your staff now in the form of gift cards to local businesses.
Acting locally is donating a takeout meal to an organization like Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House. If you call them directly they can help you coordinate!
Acting locally is authorizing your employees to charge a giftcard to their company card, with an agreement (and trust) that they'll use the gift card for work events only
Acting locally is calling around to local nonprofits that are still serving high risk individuals (think Fort Wayne Rescue Mission Ministries) and offering to donate toilet paper/soap/cleaner if your workforce is able to be remote during the self isolation period. You are in a better position to wait for restock than these frontline organizations.
Acting locally is sending out an email to your team reminding them of their benefits in plain english, telling them you care about them, reminding them you're on their team.
For the Funder:
Acting locally is considering your 5% mandatory payout the floor not the ceiling.
Acting locally is paying out your donor advised fund (maybe to 0? If not now when?) to show the most impactful local organizations that you're here for them.
Acting locally is loosening restrictions on gifts you've given in the past year.
Acting locally is calling up your grant recipients and listening; asking them what they need TODAY and giving it to them if you can.
Acting locally is announcing 0% loans to nonprofits to help with any cash flow issues due to lost revenue from cancelled events.
"It is one of the evils of rapid diffusion of news that the sorrows of all the world come to us every morning. I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. (This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know). As about the distant, so about the future. It is very dark: but there's usually light enough for the next step or so." - C.S. Lewis