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5 WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY DURING A TIME OF CRISIS

Time has shifted since the coronavirus pandemic began. And many of us are left feeling as if the ground has shifted beneath our feet. The things we used to rely on to define our lives and our days – work, schedules, errands, socializing – have suddenly been put on hold. This is a time when, more than ever, we need to stay connected. But how can we do that when we’re meant to be keeping apart

1. Reach out.
We may not be able to meet up for a coffee or get together for dinner, but thanks to technology, there are still many ways we can reach out to the people we love. Send a message. Write an email. Say hello on social media. Jump on a video chat. Pick up the phone. Let someone know you’re thinking about them. It’s amazing how many ways we can stay in touch with friends and family even without physical proximity.

2. Check in on the most vulnerable.
For many people living alone, the opportunity to socialize has all but disappeared. Make a point to check in on the most vulnerable, especially the elderly. Take your kids for a walk and wave hello from the sidewalk. Offer to pick up and deliver groceries (dropped off at the front door) if they need help. Phone your grandmother or grandfather, your great uncle, or your elderly neighbour. A chance to socialize, even in small ways, just might be the highlight of their day.

3. Consider becoming a volunteer.
If you have the desire and the time, consider becoming a volunteer. Organizations like Spark Ontario and Volunteer Toronto are spearheading efforts to help isolated residents and families in need during this emergency. Check out their websites for opportunities to help .

4. Support local business.
In addition to the emotional strain of social distancing and global uncertainty, there’s also the economic strain for many people who have lost their jobs or are struggling to maintain their small business. While we can’t show up in person, there are still ways you can shop local and show your support. Buy gift cards from your favourite neighbourhood spots (you’ll be helping them and have something to look forward to when we can once again be out and about). Contact small businesses on social media and find out if they’re offering delivery or curbside pickup. Independent businesses are what make a community unique. Support them now to help ensure they’ll still be around in the future.

5. As much as possible, stick to your regular routine.
Yes the world around us has changed, and yes, our days bear little resemblance to what they were just a few months ago, but there are still ways to stick to your regular routine. Used to getting your sweat on? Many yoga and fitness studios have moved their classes online or to social media platforms like Instagram Live. Missing your monthly book club? Meet up digitally using a virtual meeting tool like Skype or Zoom. Longing for the comfort of your Sunday service? Reverend Father Damian Young-Sam-You at St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church, located right here at 44 Broadway, will be offering Good Friday and Easter Sunday messages (you can find the link on the St. Monica’s website) in addition to the pandemic prayer.

These are uncertain times, but if we look around, we are reminded of just how connected we all are.