The news feels like a constant barrage of anger and hopelessness. Anxieties are high. The future is uncertain.
But you, brave Oswegoan, aren’t thinking about any of that. You’re thinking “How can I help?”
(Because that’s just the kind of community we have here.)
Here are a few ideas for what you can do locally to help others in the Oswego community. Not only might your contributions keep others safe and healthy, giving back right now might just bring you a little bit of calm, too.
1. Care for families, kids, and seniors in our school district
Community Cares in 308 is a Facebook group dedicated to connecting people with all kinds of needs to available services throughout the Oswego 308 School District area. Join, and you’ll find both resources for your family and ways to help others.
You can find activity and project suggestions for self-quarantined families, community members needing assistance or certain tough-to-find grocery items, and teachers offering to help students with homework.
2. Offer a Helping Hand to seniors
State Rep. Mark Batinick’s office has launched a Helping Hands program connecting residents who want to help seniors in need of assistance. Residents have pitched in to deliver meals for various agencies that serve seniors in the 97th district, pick up prescriptions and grocery shop, arrange rides to doctors, and more. You can sign up to volunteer (or, if you’re a senior, you can sign up for assistance) at 815-254-0000.
3. Volunteer with a community organization through Serve Illinois
Serve Illinois helps connect volunteers to community organizations across the state, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re mobilizing volunteers for disaster relief projects at both civic- and faith-based organizations, especially those focused on homelessness, meal delivery, and senior citizens.
Serve Illinois has several opportunities for college students stuck at home and those who are unable to work from home and want to do something constructive. Organizations with in-person service opportunities are prepared to do health screenings on volunteers and distance volunteers to keep them healthy while they serve others. Find volunteer opportunities at Serve Illinois.
If you have medical training, sign up for positions that use your skillset with Illinois HELPS.
4. Give blood.
Thousands of blood drives around the country have been canceled amid the outbreak and the American Red Cross is warning of a severe blood shortage across the country. Whole blood is only useable for 42 days, and platelets for just five days. With the cancellation of drives and many people home sick or quarantining, blood is running short for people undergoing surgery, people injured in car accidents or other accidents, and cancer patients.
5. Call a neighbor.
It’s a little thing, but it helps a lot. If you have friends and neighbors who might be at risk — including seniors and those with underlying health conditions — give them a call. Offer to pick up some groceries or run to the pharmacy for them, or just have a chat. Staying connected promotes mental and emotional wellness for everyone and makes Oswego a stronger, healthier community.
How are you pitching in to stay connected with others? Tell us on Facebook using #OswegoTogether6FtApart