5 Ways to Serve the Community in the Time of Social Distancing

By the SMU Social Media Team

While social distancing and travel restrictions have greatly limited the scope of community service initiatives, there are still ways to lend a hand while keeping to new guidelines about staying safe and socially responsible. Here are five ways you can give back during these unusual times.


1. Look out for your neighbours

Give back by starting right in your own backyard. In these stressful times, embracing the kampung spirit can make your immediate neighbourhood feel that much more warm and fuzzy, and we sure need more good vibes these days. You can start small by supporting the local merchants and hawkers in your neighbourhood, checking in on neighbours who may need a helping hand during this time, and even check out ground-up groups such as GoodHood.SG, an app where people can donate items (including masks) to their neighbours and offer services such as music classes.


2. Help with fundraising

Useful resources for making monetary and in-kind donations to charities include the sgunited.gov.sg portal, giving.sg and cityofgood.sg. You can also amplify your efforts by pitching in with fundraising efforts. If you’ve researched charities to ensure your donations are going towards valuable efforts to uplift others, help to spread the word about their good work through your social media platforms and social circles.

If you have experience and/or interest in organising fundraising campaigns, this is also a great time to step forward and pitch in for charities you believe in. A bonus: Whether it’s brainstorming creative communications outreach or handling the logistics of a charity auction, fundraisers can be a great way to learn some very useful skills.


3. Help support better mental health

In this time of great uncertainty, more people are struggling with the isolation of a more socially distanced lifestyle, as well as the stress of job and income loss. Many countries, Singapore included, have also seen a related rise in domestic abuse.

Consider signing up as a volunteer for helplines such as those run by the Samaritans of Singapore and women’s rights group AWARE, and help to point the way to mental health resources such as the 24-hour National Care hotline for people who need more support.


4. Put your skills to good use

Indeed, while face-to-face volunteering opportunities may be limited right now, months of remote working and/or schooling have taught us that there are many things we can accomplish together even when we don’t occupy the same physical space.

Are you well-versed in web design? Help charities build their websites. Is social-media influencing your superpower? Well, the time has come to practice those dark arts for a good cause. If you already had a volunteering relationship with an organisation before Covid-19, consider reaching out to find out if they would like to tap on any of your skills, or check out resources such as SG Cares for leads. If you think there’s a gap you can fill, there’s no time like the present. Get some inspiration from these creatives.


5. Reach out to vulnerable groups

This crisis has hit some groups harder than others, and you can focus your efforts on helping such communities. For instance, seniors—especially those living alone and who are not digitally savvy—have felt an increased sense of social isolation during the lockdown. In response, organisations such as the Singapore Red Cross have asked its volunteers to make more frequent phone calls to check in on its elderly beneficiaries. Research the group you would most like to help, and find out how you can make a difference.