“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
With the COVID-19 crisis dominating at least a part of everyone’s daily lives, many of us are questioning how we can do our bit to help combat this crisis. How can we support our wider communities in the long term? There have been numerous firms who have transitioned factories and distribution centres to help support local hospitals and care homes. Even local gin distilleries are repurposing their equipment to make hand sanitizer for their area NHS hubs and care homes.
How does an industry that can’t participate in any of these more tangible activities get involved? I believe that market research, as an industry, can have a positive impact. For one thing, market research companies can help support with data. Just one example is repurposing teams to help with the distribution of necessary resources and donations of vital personal protective equipment. But on a personal level, there are several things that we can all do to help support communities and each other to get through these difficult times.
In these difficult times, every small contribution makes a difference. Volunteering your skills to mentor and help individuals who have found themselves out of work, helping vulnerable neighbours and family, shopping for food and adding to food banks, donating to charities – these are all things anyone can do to help. This not only makes a big impact on the receiver but can help buoy the helper too.
Working and balancing family time is hard, with very few hours left in the day to place efforts elsewhere. As a busy mother of a 4-year-old with a busy work schedule, I also wanted to add my own contribution and signed up early to help my local community COVID-19 action group in London. Some of the tasks they needed help with was collecting prescriptions and food supplies for vulnerable people or those self-isolating. I also recently signed up to a phone buddy scheme to match individuals with no outside contact to have weekly calls, so they could continue to interact with others, and have a friendly ear to talk to regularly. So important for those living on their own on feeling the isolation more than others.
The need for looking after each over and becoming embedded in community life is more prevalent than ever before. There are several heart-warming stories across the globe with communities coming together. Here are some of our “Cinters” making an impact and doing their bit:
Lillyana Pleitez-Ralat – Senior Operations Specialist based in the USA
Has volunteered at a local food bank for more than five years but has stepped up efforts in the past month. “I volunteer at a local food bank called Community Helpers Service Center. We distribute food to those in need, serving around 300 people Wednesday and Thursday of every week. It’s a hard job but it’s my passion and also gratifying, and very emotional. This is focused on people in need and especially the elderly community.” The group is a non-profit organisation and so they rely on donations. The group supports more than food donations, watch the daily operations of the organization here.
Michael Klotz – Director, Client Development based in the USA
Michael is Board President for Sporting Arkansas, a local soccer club with almost 200 kids registered for competitive, travel programs. They have been working collectively to provide resources for kids to stay active while they are out of school and off the soccer field. This includes videos of coaches showing how drills can be done in their own backyard so kids can continue to improve their skills. They also wanted to make it fun by doing things like organising a toilet paper roll juggling contest, online FIFA video game tournaments, and challenging kids to send in their best “trick” shots.
Beyond keeping the kids active during this time of social distancing, they are also helping to coordinate tutoring services with kids from older teams for younger kids that may be struggling with distance learning. They also put together access to a food pantry for families in their time of need. “Our goal as an organization during this time is to provide support to families when needed, but also ensure that the kids have an outlet and can connect with their teammates in some way during this time when they can’t be on the field together.”
Indie Blackwell – EVP, EMA
Indie lives in a sleepy and tiny little village in South Oxfordshire, England and has found that being in lockdown brings a whole lot of issues with the elderly and those less mobile to get essential goods, as the local bus routes has completely stopped. As a community they have clubbed together and formed an action group to reach out and provide a friendly ear, food and cake supplies aplenty (I did say essentials). “Community spirit has always been strong in this part of the world, but COVID-19 has helped us flourish and thrive as we reach out to our neighbours in time of need!”
Katelyn Hertel – Program Lead, Global Operations based in the New York
She has been self-isolating but has still manged to offer her skills to help her community. “About 2 months ago, when I could see the impact COVID-19 was having on my community, I knew I had to take action. I’m unable to leave my house during the pandemic due to being immuno-suppressed so I decided to volunteer my skills another way. Currently, I work as a dispatcher for a local mutual aid organization (Sunnyside Woodside Mutual Aid) in Queens NYC, working to connect those who are in need with an able-bodied volunteer who can help fulfill the need whether it is making a grocery delivery, delivering masks and gloves free of charge, or helping to advocate to local government on behalf of our community members. We also organised a food drive with 16 volunteers with cars, we managed to pack grocery bags of donated food and prepared meals for 150 families feeding over 559 people in one day.”
If that wasn’t enough Katelyn has also used her technical skills and developed new app called NYC CovAid. You enter your zip code and the type of aid/service you are looking for such as Pharmacies, Prepared Meals. The app then highlights all the locations near you that are still legally open in the City of New York. Helping connect communities with local business. If you’d like to learn more about NYC CovAid you can see the project page here.
At Cint we are proud of our colleagues who are doing their own bit to make a difference and hope we have inspired you to do the same as well.
Written by Jane Attale: VP Sales Operations EMEA
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