COVID-19 Key Workers and Helpers: Their Spirit Is A Vital Ray Of Hope

COVID-19 Key Workers and Helpers: Their Spirit Is A Vital Ray Of Hope

The pandemic continues. With insufficient political support, key workers and helpers are also continuing to make the world a better place.

At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, and life as we know it has, for the majority of us, utterly changed. In these times of upheaval, everything is both in stasis and in a state of tectonic change – and, in the case of Black Lives Matter, that change can’t come soon enough.

There’s a lot going on to wrench the soul and rock the foundations. Yes, it’s tough. And all that time indoors doesn’t help, either. Yet, in the midst of such hardship, the work of countless folk running on goodwill and steam (rather than, say adequate funding and resources) are a constant reminder that there are, still, even now, positive aspects of society worth fighting for. That beauty of spirit and endeavour is worth taking a moment to reflect on, acknowledge and feel gratitude for.

The efforts of those who have been spurred by systemic racism to make a difference requires its own piece, for their work is seismic, and people are coming together with the kind of energy, fury and love that can change the world.

Here, though, is a quiet reflection on helpers. Key workers. People who have helped so dramatically – with such underwhelming support – during COVID-19.

If you’re wondering if there is still good in the world, there is. If you welcome a reminder, let us focus on the helpers. The helpers who are working to protect the rights of the disenfranchised and marginalised, providing support and relief to those who are distressed, sick, or forgotten.

Here are some uplifting examples of helpers in our communities.

Hospital room cleaners

We hear about the emergency room doctors and nurses on the frontline helping patients with severe complications from COVID-19, but many people don’t think about who cleans the infected hospital rooms and triage areas. Few people want to take on this dangerous job. After all, they’re working in the hotspot for contamination.

CBS recently featured a team of five workers at a New York hospital who volunteered to clean and sanitize COVID-19 patients’ rooms. Their tasks included wiping down the beds and bathrooms and decontaminating hospital equipment.

One of the volunteers said, “As a human being, I care about the patient. We are here for them.”

Closed schools who are still feeding hungry kids

Schools nationwide have closed to reduce the spread of the virus. Although the decision was meant to protect the children and their families, many kids were left without their only opportunity throughout the day to have a nutritious meal.

Leeda Beha, who runs the Child Nutrition department in a Tacoma, Washington school, decided to stay on to continue to provide needy children a meal. With the support of tireless team members like Leeda, the Bethel School District has provided kids with a quarter of a million meals.

The delivery drivers: a logistics lifeline.

Delivery drivers have it rough so that our lives can feel easier. They continue to work long hours away from their families to keep supply chain disruptions to a minimum. They make sure the country is supplied with the necessary food staples, medical equipment, and more.

Volunteers helping the shielded and vulnerable

On a smaller scale, volunteers nationwide are delivering meals and supplies to those who are at most danger of COVID-19: the elderly. The recipients of the supplies say that the volunteer program is “their lifeline.” Meals on Wheels says the demand for their service has grown. Fortunately, so has the number of volunteers willing to lend a hand.

The program has adapted its volunteer process to ensure that both the volunteer driver and the elderly receiver are protected. Meals on Wheels has switched their deliveries to a no-contact system. A volunteer will deliver the groceries or hot meals outside of their door, ring the doorbell or knock, and back away at least six feet to wait for the person to open the door. Although there is a distance between the helper and the person in need, the gesture – as well as the delivered meals and groceries – are greatly appreciated.

How can you be a helper?

There is a lot of need for helpers right now, and the benefits go both ways. If you are in a position to offer up your time and labour in a socially distanced manner, that sense of agency could mean a great deal to your own personal wellbeing levels. We need rest when it’s time to rest, but sometimes our souls crave action and direction, too.

Finding ways to be a helper during this time can be a challenge, especially if you have a stay-at-home mandate to consider, but with a little creativity, there are numerous ways in which you can help others.

Staying in touch

There are many people who are at a higher risk because of their age or of pre-existing conditions. Many of them are sheltering at home alone and feeling isolated. You can be a helper by reaching out to friends, loved ones, and neighbors to check on them.

Just the small act of regularly calling or texting someone to make sure they’re ok may provide them with a much-needed sense of connection to someone else. For elderly family members or neighbors, knowing that someone is thinking about them can soothe their fears about what can go wrong. It could provide them with comfort, knowing they have someone they can turn to for help.

Sending new mothers extra support

New mothers could also use some extra help right now. They may be dealing with postpartum depression as they are quarantined with their newborn alone at home and away from other loved ones. Their spouses may be out working all day and staying distant to reduce the chances of getting the mother and baby sick.

Recovery after childbirth is hard enough. Doing it alone or with little support is detrimental to a new mother’s mental and emotional well-being. One way you can help a new mother is by cooking meals for her that she can easily reheat. You can maintain social distancing by leaving the food at her door. You can also ask if you can go grocery shopping or do any other chores for her.

Supporting charities and organizations you believe in

If you’re one of the many people around the world who have to shelter in place because you’re high-risk due to a medical condition, you can still be a helper. One of the most significant ways you can help is by donating money to your favorite charities and organizations. They may need funding at this time to buy supplies and materials.

Your generous contribution can help them fund the good works they’re doing. When you provide a cash donation, you become a proxy-helper. Whatever contributions they make in society is partially possible because of you!

And what if you just… can’t?

If you’re shielding, or particularly vulnerable, or for any reason that applies to you, you just can’t help right now… know in your very bones that that’s okay. Giving is important, but so is knowing that you deserve to receive, and that you can only do what you can do.

If you are able to, we can all help in less direct ways that require less by way of, for example, physical mobility, time and money… like amplifying the voices of those who need it most.

Sometimes we just can’t go out and volunteer, or donate money, or do all the things we desperately want to do in times of crisis. Sometimes it’s just the facts of a situation, so please don’t feel any guilt or let anyone make you feel guilty for a situation you can’t control – it’s time to take care of yourself. If you’re vulnerable and you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself safe and steer your ship through the storm, you have found your own way to be a helper and make the difference you want to see in the world.

Adopt the helper attitude beyond the current pandemic

In myself, I’ve found that focusing on the inspiring stories of how helpers are making an impact in their communities helps me get through these challenging times. And it’s helping me find the inspiration to do my own work to make this world – or my little corner of my community – a better place.

But I want to continue supporting and doing good long after the COVID-19 pandemic, and I hope you feel the same way. The world always needs helpers. The more people that adopt the helper mentality, the better prospects we have of being part of a society we all want to live in.