Sleight Farm News
How to Be a Good Neighbor During the COVID-19 Crisis
People choose to live in a home community because they’re looking for just that – a community. Good neighbors make us feel connected and supported in daily life, and can even become a virtual family. But in a unique crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak and recommendations for social distancing, how can we be “good neighbors”? How do you strengthen and tap into your support system, without in-person contact?
There are ways to reach out to the people who live next door, across the street, or down the road even if you shouldn’t get closer than six feet. In fact, reaching out can help us gain a better sense of control during troubling and uncertain times. Here are some ideas:
Be strict about social distancing recommendations. It’s hard, and a sacrifice…but drastically reduces the risk of virus transmission for everyone, and increases the chances of all in your community staying healthy. It doesn’t get more neighborly than that.
Make it a priority to connect with elderly neighbors or people who live alone. Call, text, or deliver a note letting them know you’re there if they need anything. Ask them if they’d like a regular “check in” or want to share their emergency contact information should it become necessary. If you’re venturing out to the store or pharmacy, ask if you can pick up anything for them while you’re there.
Another group of neighbors who might need extra help are families with very young children, especially if there’s only one parent home during the day. While childcare assistance may not be possible under guidelines for social distancing, you can still lend a hand by picking up necessities or just checking in by phone for “adult” conversation and moral support.
Organize a neighborhood text thread, email list, or online discussion group, if one doesn’t yet exist. Use a platform like Facebook or NextDoor, or an email listserv such as Yahoo. Or simply create a printed neighborhood contact sheet to distribute. If something like this already exists, you can help expand it. This is a great time to introduce yourself to new neighbors or residents you haven’t met yet. Spread the word through neighbors you’re already in contact with and flyers in mailboxes. Here’s some easy sample language you can tailor for your needs:
“Hi! My name is ____________. I’m your neighbor at _______________ and my number is _________________. I’m reaching out because during this COVID-19 crisis, I would like to be connected with you and our other neighbors so we can share information, pool resources, and support one another with any needs that arise. I’m coordinating a group text message thread or email list so we can all be in touch. Please text or call me if you would like to be part of this network, or even if you would just like to be linked up one-to-one.”
Generate neighborhood cheer and entertainment from afar. Your family can stage a parade of singing or music-making down the street. Create chalk art and messages on your driveway or road for all to see. Put something funny on your porch or front window every day, or even organize neighbors to do the same so kids can drive or walk around on a “scavenger hunt” to spot them. More ideas like this are teeming on social media at the moment!
Practice collective kindness. Many communities are organizing food drives for schools and organizations that serve families affected by school closures and loss of work and income. Helping others is another vital way to feel more in control and connected, and you can increase your impact if you pool donations or other requested resources with your neighbors.
If it feels uncomfortable to reach out to unfamiliar people right now, this is still a meaningful opportunity to reconnect with neighbors you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while.
At Sleight Farm, we wish you, your family, and your community strength and good health while we weather this unprecedented global crisis.