Texas Living

How to Be a Good Neighbor (from a Distance)

By Christiana Nielson 5.15.20

Being a good neighbor to those around you and throughout your community is more important than ever.

During this time of self-isolation and social distancing, life can present new challenges, whether physical, emotional, mental, or financial. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended routines, jobs, friendships, families — and much more.

By doing seemingly small things for people who need your help, you can make a big difference to them right now. Here, we look at how to be a good neighbor.

Take Care of Your Elders

The elderly population in your neighborhood is one of the most at-risk, not only of getting sick but also of being totally isolated. That can eventually take a toll, but there are things you can do to help:

Run errands. Offer to bring older folks around you groceries, toilet paper, a new puzzle, a favorite book, or anything that would lift their spirits. It’s important for them to feel cared for and not forgotten simply because they can’t go for a walk outside.

Check in. Devise a system — like giving an elderly neighbor green, yellow, and red construction paper to put in a window — to ensure you’ll know if your elderly neighbors are OK, if they need help with something, or if there’s an emergency you need to respond to.

Stay safe. No matter what you deliver to them, make sure to wash your hands and wear a mask to put safety first. Doing little acts of kindness for older generations while being smart will help them feel less alone.

Donate to Your Local Food Bank

The neighbors who live on your block aren’t the only ones who need a helping hand. People in your community who are struggling with a lack of food are your neighbors, too, and the food banks that normally serve them have been hit hard.

Donate food or money. If you’re fortunate enough to either have extra food resources or be able to purchase some, donate to your local food bank.

Donate time. You can also volunteer at a food bank, as long as you’re wearing the right gear. With the extra meals, these food banks will be able to feed those who really need it. That’s how to be a good neighbor to people you haven’t met.

Organize a Neighborhood Drive-By Parade

Do you know a neighbor whose birthday is coming up? Is the couple across the street celebrating an anniversary? Has a young couple’s anticipated wedding day come and gone?

Organizing a small parade where people drive their cars down the street to celebrate and acknowledge an occasion that has gotten sidelined is a great way to be a good neighbor. People don’t always need tangible things during self-isolation. Sometimes, what they need is simply to feel loved and appreciated. A festive parade can do just that.

Put Your Hobbies to Good Use

Dropping off homemade goods at neighboring residences is being a good neighbor at its finest.

Bake. There’s something about a cake made from a secret family recipe or a container of your world-famous chicken noodle soup that will brighten your neighbor’s week like nothing from a store can.

Garden. Maybe you don’t cook but you instead have a green thumb. You can take a freshly potted plant over to spruce up someone’s porch.

Craft. If you like to sew, you can create fashionable homemade face masks for those who need one.

Create. Or you can serenade your neighbors with your guitar for a few minutes every day. The point is: Get creative. Whatever you’re good at and love to do in your spare time can be used to be a good neighbor. We’re in this together.

Learn how to be a good neighbor in other ways by  helping support first responders and seeing how we’re staying community strong.

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