A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Coronavirus in CLE: 10 Ways You Can Make a Difference

As these past weeks have unfolded, each day seems to bring another wave of bad news. The impact of the coronavirus goes beyond the actual infection. It is spreading to our economy in ways that are unprecedented in our lifetimes.
Coronavirus, COVID 19
Like you, my life has been completely altered. Plans that were made a year ago, have vanished. First the Cleveland International Film Festival. Then my annual tea party. St. Patrick's Day. A trip my husband was planning. All gone in a matter of days. Countless parties, dinner reservations, events and non-essential appointments have been canceled. I'm extremely concerned for three weddings that are scheduled for early summer. Add that to the fact that my unemployment is running out and it goes far beyond the disappointment and inconvenience of changed plans.

For our friends with small businesses and in the restaurant/food service/event business, their lives are completely altered. The social distancing measures have decimated these industries. I fear many may never recover.

What can we do to help?

1. Shop from local businesses when possible. The West Side Market, Old Brooklyn Cheese, Ohio City Provisions, Saucisson, and others have amazing food products available for purchase. I'll be featuring places on my Instagram stories and Facebook page regularly.

2. Order take out. Most restaurants, wine shops, breweries, and even coffee shops are offering grab and go or delivery options. Join the Cleveland Restaurant Take Out Facebook group or follow the establishments on social media for menus, hours, and other details. Eat Local Ohio + CLE Foodies have been doing a great job of sharing too.

3. Purchase gift cards. Even if an establishment is currently closed, you can stock up on gift cards for future purchases. This is especially true of your hair salon, yoga studio, museums, or art classes. But I recommend doing so wisely - some businesses will unfortunately not make it through this crisis and you could be out of pocket. Make sure you are ok with this so you aren't disappointed later.

4. Purchase merchandise. This is a great time to buy a shirt from a local shop or a growler from your favorite brewery or other establishment. Purchase some plants or fresh flowers to make working at home a little more pleasant. Cleveland International Film Fest just posted their CIFF44 merchandise online today. 

5. Donate your time. There are many ways to give back that don't require spending money. Sign up to volunteer at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Download the Hunger Network app and help with food rescue. Shop for an elderly family member or neighbor. Offer to take care of the pets of someone who is still going to work. 

6. Give back. Many non-profits and organizations are also being hit hard. A donation, no matter the size, will have a great impact. If you purchased tickets to a canceled event, consider donating the cost instead of asking for a refund. If you planned an event that is unable to be held, postpone it instead of canceling. If your company or organization has asked restaurants and businesses to donate to your fundraisers, it is your time to return the favor. Help those who have helped you all these years.

7. Be kind. Don't hoard groceries and supplies. Abide by the guidelines for social distancing. Check in on your friends and family. We have amazing technology that allows us to communicate face to face even while far apart - use it. Say thank you to the grocery store workers, delivery drivers and others who are working every day so we can all get the things we need. Tip well.

8. Remember to laugh. If we don't find some of the humor in this craziness, we will all go crazy. Share pictures of you pets, kids, crazy work at home fashion, or memes to help everyone smile a little bit. This has been one of my favorites. You can comment here or play along on my Instagram post.
work at home, home, quarantine
9. Be there. Listen to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors and let them vent. Everyone is scared, but those with mental health concerns are especially vulnerable at this time. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction or depression, pay special attention and see how you can help them. If you are in recovery, set up virtual meetings and check in regularly.

10. Last but certainly not least - Take this seriously. Even if you don't feel sick or have symptoms you may be infected and can spread it to others who may not be as lucky. Together we WILL get through this.
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And if you're feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, reach out! I'm glad to chat with you. We're all in this together!