Most of us have spent more time at home over the past year than ever before, and it has gotten hard to get back into the habit of being out in the community.
While we understand circumstances prevent many from doing more— maybe you are being cautious because of the recent increase of COVID cases, or you are feeling burnt out and need extra time at home—we encourage you to show up when you can.
The community needs you more than you may realize. Organizations are struggling to find volunteers, businesses are facing challenges, and your fellow community members miss seeing others out and about. How can you show up? We have some ideas:
This requires the most time and energy, but many organizations can’t function without the help of volunteers. According to Will Price of the United Way of Venango County: “Volunteering comes in all shapes and forms. You can do a one-time, handson activity, like painting a pavilion or assisting at a food pantry, or you can provide more ongoing services, like mentorship or advocacy work.”
Consider what time, talents, and interests you have and find a way you can use those in the community. The United Way has a volunteer coordinator to assist you in finding a good fit, and a website at venangoconnect.org where you can sign up for needs. FLEX also invites you to join us in volunteering at Cranberry Festival on September 18.
Spend Money Locally
Technology has made shopping easy. You can order anything from Amazon, or place your grocery order with a big box store to pick up curbside. Local restaurants and retail shops have been majorly impacted by the pandemic, though, and need support. Consider buying even one thing from a local business that you’d normally purchase online.
Ever plan a party and have just a few people come? It can be discouraging, especially after the time and effort spent on prepping, and excitement to spend time with loved ones. Imagine that on a larger scale, like planning a community event for dozens, or even hundreds, of people.
Attending events keeps organizations motivated to keep hosting happenings, makes our community look like a busy and fun place, and can provide funds for a cause. Just showing up to an event like a concert for an hour can make a difference.
Spread the Word
If you don’t have the ability or desire to go out, that’s okay, but you can still show up by spreading the word. Share a post about an event on Facebook, give a business an online review, or talk to friends about local happenings. You don’t have to physically be somewhere to show up.
Showing up can be hard, especially after most of us have gotten out of the habit of doing as much as we did before. Consider how you can show up in a way that is best for you, because our community needs us.
This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) September 2021 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.