Want to brighten up a suddenly sad world?
Socially distancing (i.e. physically distancing) doesn’t mean you can’t do a good deed.
In this post, we’re sharing 38 acts of kindness you can do during COVID-19. Some are free and some involve money—so everyone can participate 🙂
P.S. Can you do me a favor? Can you please share this post or some of these ideas to encourage something good to come out of this chaos.
Reasons for Acts of Kindness
Why should you do a good deed when you may also be struggling? Well, there’s a few reasons:
- Makes You Happier, Improves Well-Being. Researchers analyzed a series of studies and found that performing acts of kindness makes you modestly happy and improves well-being. In fact, they said the effect was a “small-to-medium-comparable” to interventions such as mindfulness, which is often recommend to decrease anxiety. If nothing else, doing something nice for someone can take you out of your COVID-19 anxiety for a moment.
- Boredom. If you’re stuck at home and looking for things to do, these can provide a productive hobby that others will appreciate.
- Keep Kids Busy. If you need to keep your kids busy, there’s a few ideas on here that could be good for them too.
- Help Others. So many people have been affected by COVID-19, whether it be their health, job or finances. Pretty much everyone could use a good deed to uplift them right now 🙂
39 Acts of Kindness During COVID-19
Whether you have millions to spend or literally nothing, there’s something you can do to bring a smile to someone’s face.
FREE COVID-19 Good Deed Ideas
No money? No problem. (Actually, a big problem. But not for this list)
#1 Leave Google Reviews for Local Businesses
Even if they’re not running right now, small, local businesses will appreciate it once they’re back open. These companies are the ones that need kind words the most now.
#2 Write a Gratitude Letter
Write a letter to a friend, family member, co-worker or your partner about how much they mean to you. Just about everyone could use a smile right now.
#3 Leave a Review for Your Favorite Entertainment
Reviews help everyone! For example, leave a review on iTunes for your favorite Podcast or on a Facebook page for your local theatre or concert hall.
#4 Nice YouTube Comment
Leave your favorite YouTube entertainer a nice comment. Or, if there’s a specific channel that’s keeping you informed about the virus, thank them!
#5 Refuse to Hoard
I don’t care if this toilet paper shortage lasts for months, I refuse to buy more than one pack at a time. Why? Because when we buy more than what we normally do, it hurts those less privileged than us. Consider this: You’re stocked up on rice for months and the single mom who just got money can finally buy some—but there’s none left because you bought it all. Buy what you need for about a week or two. Buy what you’ll actually use in that period. There IS enough product. BUT supply can’t keep up with demand when many buy more than what they need. If you live alone, an easy way to do this is to refuse to shop with a cart (basket only).
#6 Write Local Politicians
If something is pissing you off, for example, the fact that many governments seemingly forgot to include homeless in their COVID-19 budget, write a local politician. Tell them what matters to you and what you think they can do to change it.
#7 Let Someone Vent
This sucks for most people. Many people have either lost their job or been laid off. Even if they’re well-off, their savings or finances likely took a hit. If they’re working, they’re stressed out about the chaos and disorganization. Most people are feeling this anxiety. If you have enough mental capacity, letting your friend rant for a bit could really help them. (But never do it at the risk of your own mental health!)
#8 Display Drawings to Thank Healthcare Nurses
Do you see drawn rainbows in windows in your neighborhood? If so, they’re a sign of gratitude to thank healthcare workers. If you have kids, it can be a fun activity to do. If not, you can do it yourself too 🙂
The kids in my neighborhood have been doing this, but who says adults can’t too? To give you some inspiration, here are some things I’ve read on chalked sidewalks:
- “We’re all in this together”
- “We’re going to be ok”
- “Please wash your hands!”
- And just a bunch of hearts drawn along an entire street (I love this)
#10 Stone Messages
This is another idea I didn’t come up with. The credit goes to amazing kids in my area and the good people that parent them. They put a basket of stones at the end of their driveway with some blank and some drawn stones. There was a marker beside the basket to write and leave your own message on a rock. Or, you could take an inspirational stone message home. I know people will be afraid about transferring germs with the marker and stone, and I get that. I’d recommend keeping the stones outside in a garden if you’re worried about it.
#11 Write Corporations
This could be a long shot because many, in my opinion, are unlikely to listen. But we can still try, right? If you’re pissed off at a company, tell them! For example, writing Amazon heads telling them that they can afford to treat their employees well, especially right now. Don’t have a company contact? Here’s a hint: type “company + position (CEO, marketing, COO, CFO, etc.)” + “LinkedIn” into Google. Once you find the name of the person you’re looking for, download the Google Chrome extension Hunter. Go to the company’s website, click the extension on your toolbar and type the person’s name in the box. If the person doesn’t show up, you’ll probably at least be left with a hint about the email format (ex. [email protected]). Airing your grievances can be cathartic! Just remember to never make attacks personal; the people reading your emails may just be employees doing their job without any decision-making power. Still, it’s their job to pass on the message.
#12 Stop Supporting Asshole Companies
Pissed about how Tim Hortons tried to enforce doctor’s notes during COVID-19? Or how they can’t pay anyone sick leave, even after virtually taking away Roll Up The Rim? Give it to them where it hurts most: By not giving anything at all. Instead, get your coffee somewhere they don’t treat people like crap.
#13 Check-In with People, Especially Those Most Vulnerable
Checking-in with people costs nothing. Those who are elderly or live alone need it the most. Actually, I think who really need it the most are people who you suspect may be in abusive relationships/family. Make sure they’re safe, let them know about local resources, provide help when you can and alert authorities if you are aware of any violence. And please, don’t get frustrated with them. Try to express empathy, even if you don’t really understand. It can be really hard to get out of abusive relationships and harsh words will make it even worse during these times.
#14 Support Your Extroverted Friends
If you’re an introvert, isolation may be a lesser blow. But if you’re an introvert, I’d imagine it could be pretty difficult. Make an effort to call and video chat your extroverted friends (even if you really, really hate calls!).
#15 Order a Meal to Someone Who Needs It
Know a family that’s struggling to eat but they’re too stubborn to take money? Order take-out to their home and then say, “it’s too late, already ordered, will be outside your home in 20 minutes.”
#16 Play with Your Pet
Most of us are stuck at home. If you have a pet, take advantage of that! They probably love the fact that you’re home more often and you should love them right back with more pets, belly rub and treats (but still a healthy amount, of course 😉
#17 Offer Help with Signs or Posts
Offer to pick up groceries or medication for those who can’t or shouldn’t leave home at all. You can do this by posting in a local Facebook group or even making a sign and posting it in your community (you can use a fake email or number if you wish).
#18 Do What You Can with Your Profession
If you have a certain skill set that can benefit others during this time, consider offering it for free or low cost. If you’re a well-off landlord, consider being a good person and letting rent slide for a month. If you own or manage a hotel, consider offering rooms to homeless people.
#19 Be Nice
The least you can do is not be an asshole. Say please and thank you to retail workers and healthcare staff. Then carry that new habit with you for decades to come (…please).
#20 Donate Your Hoarded Masks
No, not theatre masks. Although we all could use some entertainment. If you have any extra, unused masks lying around, donate them to your local hospital. Unless you’re sick, I can guarantee they need it more.
#21 Try Not to Judge Others
I don’t want to write this one. I hate this one. Those who aren’t following the rules really piss me off. But shaming them probably won’t help and it’s not what we need right now. For example, if someone stands too close to you in line, did they really mean to? Or did they forget because they’re too busy worrying about how they’re going to feed their family this week? Or because they’re worrying about their family member in the hospital? Honestly, maybe not. But maybe. And when we operate from that “maybe,” we can assert ourselves as needed without being jerks (then rant when we get home).
#22 Ask Neighbors If They Need Groceries
When you go out for groceries, ask your neighbor if they need some too. To prevent any contact, they can e-transfer or bank wire you the money. Then, you can leave it in a bag outside their house or apartment.
COVID-19 Good Deeds Involving Money
#23 Pay for Someone’s Groceries
If you’re in a position to do so, spot someone in line who looks like they may be struggling. Then, offer to pay for their groceries. If your budget is limited, you can offer to pay for just one big item instead. If they resist, explain that you want to and they can repay you by doing something nice for someone else whenever they can. This happened to my sister when a stranger bought her a case of pop—it brightened her day and almost made us both cry.
#24 Support Good Businesses
Support businesses (local or corporations) that you know are treating employees well. For example, I got an email from a tattoo shop saying they’re still paying laid off artists and offering a line of credit, for which the company themselves will pay the interest on. Consider this: A 5-location tattoo shop did this when many large corporations force sick employees to work. Many CAN afford it but choose not to. Businesses that put human lives above profit are the ones we need to support after this is all over.
#25 Donate a Can when Buying
Most grocery stores have a designated cart or box where you can drop in non-perishable items for a food bank. After you check out, add a can or another item into the pile.
#26 Donate Through Social Posts
Many Facebook local community groups or local employment groups have people posting about what they should do if they can’t afford food, rent, etc. This is a quick way to spot people who need it if you’re looking to donate.
#27 Vemo Money
Many celebrities are urging others to do their part without doing theirs. However, others, like Britney Spears, have encouraged those in need to reply to their tweet. In response, she randomly selected people to send money to. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a celebrity. But if you are well-off, you can still act like one and so many people will love you for it. Popular payment methods are PayPal and Vemo.
#28 Leave Coins/Bills Around
I know there’s going to be people who disagree, saying that cash can transfer germs. That’s true. But it’s also true that many people out there right now (and before this) are literally struggling to survive. They need cash in their hands right NOW and government cheques aren’t going to last long. To be extra safe, clean the coins. (I would also like to take a quick moment to thank Canada for making plastic, wipeable bills). Take the sanitized money and place it in a clear plastic sandwich bag. Tape a note on the inside reading something inspirational or simply “If you need this, take it!” Then you can tape the bag to any sign or pole. You can also leave it on a shelf somewhere.
#29 Make a Donation
There’s so many places that need money so they can help others. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some starter ideas as they relate to COVID-19:
- Food banks
- Homeless shelters (fewer people out means less street change. More resources are needed to compensate for this and to provide appropriate spaced-out shelter)
- Homeless shelters for children/teenagers (abuse rates go up when everyone is confined to the home for a long period)
- Domestic violence shelters (again, sadly, reported domestic abuse cases are rising during COVID-19)
- Addiction programs (when dependent people can’t afford alcohol and other drugs and don’t get them, they begin to withdraw, which can literally lead to death. Resources are needed to prevent and treat this.)
*Please email me any that I should add to this list!
#30 Buy Local
Instead of shopping at a big box grocery store, can you afford to shop at a local Asian grocery store? Many could really use the business right now. Or, if a friend’s birthday is coming up and you need to get them a gift, consider small businesses that deliver. Amazon is usually a go-to but the $232.9 billion company hasn’t treated employees well throughout this crisis or before it. Despite how much the company makes, it only started giving sick pay to part-time workers after a group of them fought for it. So… maybe consider a website like Etsy instead? (If Amazon is cheaper and you don’t have the money, that’s okay too, no judgement).
#31 Pay for Take-Out
In many locations, restaurants are still open for take-out. If you order takeout and go in to pick up and pay, ask if you can also pay for the next person picking up.
#32 Pay for Drive-Thru
Many drive-throughs are still open. Ask to pay for the person behind you when you pay for yours.
#33 Tweet a Thanks
Tweet a heartfelt thanks to someone who you love following on Twitter, perhaps a journalist working hard to keep you informed.
#34 Pre-Pay for Laundry
I know many people will be worried that laundromats harbor germs. But in most places they’re still open because they are a necessity for some families. Also, consider that many people who use laundromats tend to be lower-income and could really use some help. Put a few coins in a washer or dryer WITHOUT pressing start. The next person to use it will have a nice free surprise 🙂
#35 Leave a Tip
Even though most restaurants are closed for eat-in service, they still probably have the tip option on their debit/credit machine. If you go to pick it up in person, leave a tip for the person helping you out, or for it to be split amongst everyone working.
#36 Tip Your Grocery Store Worker
Say thanks by tipping your grocery cashier or stock person, similar to how you would a waitress. Again, people may complain about cash harboring germs. I get it. I also know how hard it is to live on minimum wage. But I don’t know what it’s like to risk my health for it. Or to be berated by stressed citizens for doing my job. But it must really suck sometimes. They deserve to be paid more.
#37 Tip Your Delivery Driver
If you’re having food or groceries delivered, realize the person doing that is risking their health. The good news is that many deliveries are through apps, which means you can also tip on the app and make it completely cashless.
#38 Foster a Pet
Many animal shelters are at or around full capacity right now. That means they can’t accept any more until they clear space, which is a terrifying thought for kill shelters. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility, so this isn’t for everyone. But fostering is a way you can temporarily have a dog or cat while she’s trying to find her forever home. She will keep you company while you keep her safe and make room for other animals who need help.
#39 Bonus: Perspective?
I think using a crappy situation to gain perspective and have empathy is an act of kindness. For example, if you’re well-off and you’ve lost some savings, you can hopefully have a little more empathy for those that don’t have a lot in their emergency fund. If you usually live paycheque-to-paycheque and now there’s nothing coming in, hopefully you can have a little more empathy for people experiencing homelessness. Everyone has a story. And just like this wasn’t your fault, adverse situations aren’t necessarily their fault either. If we can use our experiences to understand others a bit better, I think the world would be a kinder, better place to live, no?