Guest Blog Post by Ross Phillips, Chamber VP of Community Development and Executive Director of Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders
As most of us are encroaching into week five or six of being quarantined and being #VirtuallyDistant, we are really getting a great reminder at how impactful and powerful the Northwest Arkansas community truly is when it comes to the giving of our time and our finances. We are seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars going to families in need, students still getting fed, and small business owners lending a hand to one another. We are watching religious organizations banding together to provide meals, business leaders stepping up beyond what was ever asked, and healthcare professionals going above and beyond the call of duty to keep their communities safe and healthy.
But, for most of us, it is hard to continue sitting on the sidelines and not being a part of the game. We want to be the quarterback, or even the water boy - ultimately, we want to be leading in some way, even if we cannot have direct contact with our teammates.
Volunteering and helping the ones around us in need has proven to be good for mental and physical health - it improves your mood, connects you with others with the same mindset, and reminds you of your sense of purpose. With our new normal and new routines, it may seem difficult to step up, but it's more important right now than ever and it's easier than you may think.
Maybe you have put one too many puzzles together and have binge-watched every Netflix documentary you can stand and need to get out of the house. Even when abiding by all CDC-recommended safety precautions, there are ways to get out of the house. Meals On Wheels needs help delivering food to senior citizens, the American Red Cross is still taking blood donations, and the Samaritan Community Center would love help in their food pantry.
Though, we also understand if you feel that it is easier to give from the comfort of your home, while finishing that last episode of Ozark. In that case, United Way just launched a COVID-19 Reponse Fund where you even get a fun yard sign for being one of the first to give. Art Feeds is doing a Facebook Campaign to help continue their mission of getting art supplies to every vulnerable child in NWA, where even $5 could make a huge difference. Alas, if you are looking to give directly to our hospital workers on the front lines, the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra has an easy online portal where you can donate meals and they will make sure they are getting fed.
If you’re somewhere in the middle and you want to roll down your windows and hit the road for a bit, call the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter, The Pack Shack, or the DEB Project and see what you can grab from your pantry or your closet to drop off.